The First Two Common Experiences When People Pray Together

Removing the Negative Feelings Brought Along When Praying Together – Part 1

When We Pray With Others – Part 2.1

Jesus asked His disciples a question He posed to them. It went like this: “who do men say that I am?” [1] As we know, Jesus already knew the answer to the question. Obviously, He knew who He was and where He came. The point was this. Jesus wanted to get their thoughts and their ideas. They replied, “well, some say you’re this, some say you’re that. Some say you’re this person and some say you’re that person.” [1] After He heard the popular responses they offered, He asked them directly, “well, who do you say that I am?” [1] I liked the way He sat down and communicated with these guys. He talked and listened to their answers to His questions, but where was He going with it?

In the same way Jesus asked questions about something He already knew, Pamela and I like to open up our topics with similar questions. For this section on praying with others, here’s the question we asked. “How do you feel about praying with others?” What does that make you feel like? What comes to mind when you think about praying with others? What would keep you from desiring to pray with someone else?

In a group discussion on this topic with people who enjoy praying, we gathered a few of the most popular answers. These answers represent common responses. Think about praying with a group, in a group, especially with more experienced or the most experienced people you know. Now, how would that make you feel about praying? What if you had to pray before an audience of 30 or 40 people or more? You might be feeling one or more of the following feelings: 1) uncomfortable, fear of being critiqued, embarrassed by running out of words to say, insecure for lack of a trusting environment, and possibly inadequate when compared to someone else.

How do we remove the negative feelings brought on when we’re praying with others?
As you know, most people are not comfortable when praying in front of others. Listen to those words “most people.” You know, every time I hear the word ‘most’, it reminds me that that’s the majority, more times than not. That means it’s the average. That means it’s normal. That means it’s the standard. That means you can bank on it going that way. So “most people” aren’t comfortable when praying with others. It means that you can bank on there being people in the room who are not comfortable praying with others. Imagine that and how awful is that? The normal feeling when praying to God when others are present isn’t a feeling of joy, but anxiety and discomfort. That’s one of the things we’re coming against. This is what we’re fighting against and trying our best to help you overcome. Let’s discuss each of the most common negative feelings in more detail.

  • Uncomfortable – The number one feeling at the top of our list is the feeling of being uncomfortable. It’s better stated as anxiety. When people get ready to pray in front of others it makes them uncomfortable. If I were to invite you to join me for a time of prayer with others, in your mind you think of situations like this. We’re about to get into the infamous prayer circle. Or we’re going to be in a room that’s really quiet like a library. Or you’re going to be placed in a room with very few people where the atmosphere is somber, no smiles, no joy, and no excitement. You think you’ll be in a room crying and holding hands. You think it is going to be uncomfortable and most awkward.

    I grew up in a small church that had weekly prayer meetings. Like most (that means it’s normal). As you enter, the room is silent. There was very little movement and not much happening. When the service began, someone would kick off the time of prayer with a greeting and give a topic for that entire hour of prayer. After that, you were on your own. Can you picture it? In a normal prayer service, there’s no guidebook nor instruction manual. Not only does it feel weird the first time, it was weird. Looking around the room you would see people looking around while others were seated alone to themselves. There was a sound of a few people whispering underneath their breath. Concentrating on myself, finally I would conclude that this would be one of the most uncomfortable hours of my life.

    Picture that scenario and tell me is that something one can look forward to? Can you honestly say you’d look forward to a prayer service like that? Is that what the Bible says that we should do when it comes to prayer? Is this what the Bible indicates prayer looks like? The answer is no; it’s not even close. Therefore, we’ve decided to fix it and remove that normal feeling of being uncomfortable.

  • Critiqued – The number two most popular response was a feeling of you were being critiqued. Often when we pray with others it’s easy to feel like you’re being evaluated, assessed, or even judged. When you’re in a group of people, and have to pray before them, like in the infamous prayer circle and it’s your turn, you feel like you might be critiqued. After your time is over, someone may say, you could have used different words, or they may try to evaluate your style. There are times even when a person is made to feel like he or she didn’t do something right or say something correctly. Maybe you misused a scripture in your prayer. In our discussions with pray-ers (people who pray), we shared a number of common experiences that each person has had at least once in life. This feeling that one is being critiqued is not new, which is interesting, but we’re going to help you overcome that. We’re about to change this experience when it comes to your prayers. How does this happen when we’re supposed to be in an environment with the presence of God? How is this possible when the environment should be one where “there is therefore no condemnation?” [2] This must change and we start by exposing the truth of what occurs and what exists.

Because we have shared a lot of detail in these first two common experiences, we will save the next three for our next installment. Sorry, you’ll have to wait until next week for the others: running out of words to pray, lack of trusting others in prayer, and “that person.” You will surely not want to miss hearing about “that person,” we’ve all encountered. Until next week, take your prayer to the next level.

Question: what was your first experience like when you were faced with praying with a group of people?

[1] ‭‭Luke 9:18-20 NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed October 13, 2022, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/LUK.9.18-20.NLT
[2] ‭‭Romans 8:1 NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed October 13, 2022, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/ROM.8.1.NLT

All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights

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