Praying In An Orderly Fashion

Five Key Observations For Improving the Experience of Praying with Others

When We Pray With Others – Part 3

Praying together isn’t always an individual exercise. When you are praying with others, it is different. It is like a scrimmage or gameday. As you know, I like to think of prayer like exercise. We often refer to this progression of prayer as a team effort where you get together with others and go through the motions. When you pray together in a more corporate environment, larger group, we call it a gameday. We want you to be prepared for what that looks like.

I am reminded of the time when Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, led a prayer meeting. This meeting consisted of a group of roughly 120 believers, a large group. They were gathered in prayer over a very important matter which impacted the future of The Christian Church, as we know it. This matter was more than serious. I’ll explain the scenario. They had come together as a team to appoint a replacement for the vacant apostle spot on the team. It was the apostle seat vacated by Judas. Due to the nature of such a decision, keep in mind that the original team was appointed by Jesus Himself, they need to get it right. So Peter along with the other 10 apostles and the other disciples decided to call a meeting, a prayer meeting of sorts. It took a prayer meeting to take care of such an important task. In prayer, the goal or gameday opponent was to determine who would fill the role of apostle number 12. [1]

How do we remove the normal barriers we find when praying with others?
What I noticed in that prayer meetings is a couple of things that I see missing in many prayer meetings today. This is the reason for our writing. This message is how we take praying together to the next level. Here’s the question, how do we remove the normal barriers we find when praying with others?  You have to admit that a lot could have gone wrong with the selection process for the replacement disciple.

Just like those 120 believers, I can only imagine if it’s not done properly, we can fall prey to many barriers experienced when praying with others. One is the anxiety it could bring. When praying with others, we can find ourselves being critiqued or even laughed at. We can feel insecure at times by following “that person.” We can find ourselves in many different situations that are not healthy for the job or the task at hand in praying to God who welcomes us to pray. Due to the nature of the tasks those disciples faced, they knew the best way to make such an important decision was to ask God. He says that we have not when we ask not. [2] Therefore, we don’t want to do anything to hinder our success in prayer, especially when praying together with others.

Here are five key observations:

  1. Promote the proper environment and create an unified gathering.
    This removes the anxiety and any discomfort. The right environment is key. A healthy environment for prayer is one that promotes unity. It is one that promotes acceptance and it is one that promotes, in this case, prayer. The main goal is to create an atmosphere where the attitude of the team is appropriate. The disciples mentioned above were in one accord. That means when there’s a person who doesn’t have the right attitude, he or she will need an attitude adjustment. What we have at stake is too important and we don’t want to do anything to hinder the attitude and the flow of prayer.

    We have to promote conformity to the environment. I know that sounds strange because many people believe in what we hear often, “allow the Holy Spirit to move.” This phrase has been used to promote an environment of non-conformity, if the truth be told. What we’ve discovered in our studies is that the Holy Spirit is not a spirit of disorder or non-conformity. Without getting off on that topic, if you search the Bible and look at every place where you see God’s spirit in action, what you will find is no signs of His spirit promoting disorder nor His spirit being a distraction to the task, goal, or mission at hand. A person under the direction of God’s spirit doesn’t draw attention to himself or herself. In fact, God’s spirit is a helper. He helps us to do the things we do. He helps us take it to the next level. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. But enough about that.

    Conforming to the environment is important. When we think about the environment, we have to be in one accord in the environment. A team must work together and be on the same page. In the business world, we say it this way. We have to understand “the culture of the organization.” That means the culture guides how we do the things we do. It also gives us guidelines in how not to do the things we shouldn’t do. In an environment of prayer, one must know what things are allowed in this particular setting and what things are not. For example a prayer meeting in a Catholic church isn’t the same as a prayer meeting in a Baptist church. Therefore you have to know the culture of the environment.

    A unified gathering with order removes anxiety and discomfort. This means that the people can anticipate what’s going to happen. When people understand the flow and the order of a meeting, then it takes the discomfort, the anxiety, and the worry away. A unified gathering creates a welcoming environment. Each individual in the group understands that the service is going to progress in a certain pattern, it is going to go in a certain way, and the behaviors are going to be something that they can anticipate as opposed to feeling anxious or worried about the unknown.

  2. Establish the role of the team members.
    How do we make sure there are no barriers in our time of praying together as a group or as a team? Number two, we establish that each team member is an athlete on the team and has a role to play. Unfortunately this is not as easy as it sounds. It’s not normal. However, it is a good idea to establish that we’re going to do this as a team. In this case, Peter was the play caller for the meeting. Each player (pray-er, person who prays) has a role and an assignment to play. Allow each person to know that they’re valuable and a part of a team. Once this has been established, there are no unwanted critiques of the players when we are part of a team. We are cautious when assisting, helping, and encouraging other team members. When we’re performing as a team, each member of the team wants the team to win. The way we handle all the team members is important to our growth and to the success of the team. Remember, our goal is to have a successful prayer meeting, a next-level prayer time of prayer together.

  3. Ensure that the team is well trained, equipped, and motivated.
    When we pray together as a team, we leave room for our team members to be well trained. Peter and the other 10 apostles didn’t go away to an isolated place. They allowed the other 109 to observe and join in. Therefore we call our prayer time, “the training ground for prayer.” This means, at times, we have to stop and make sure that everyone knows exactly what’s going on. Let me give an example. Let’s say we’re going to have an anointing service with oil. Most people have never done that before which means we must talk through the process and how it works. We discuss the whatnots and the protocol behind it. We demonstrate how it’s to be administered. In that way each person has been well trained,  equipped, and motivated to participate.

    When praying together we need it to be a safe place. As we mentioned, we train, equip, and motivate. In this way we share thoughts about the exercise and it gives a person what is needed, and motivates them in the act. When we are trained, equipped, and motivated, then each person can contribute in the prayer time, and the conversation with God continues effortlessly. Prayer continues because each person is encouraged to speak, talk, and pray in such an environment.

  4. Love each other and love the game.
    The game refers to our time of prayer or prayer itself. Note that the disciples were in one accord, they were not split or in disagreement. If you want to go to the next level, then you must learn to walk in love with the team. With a team of people who love each other, the desire of each member is what’s best for another and a desire for the team to go to the next level. As a member of the team,  I think more of you and what we as a team are trying to accomplish as people who are praying together. Loving each other and having a love for the team reduces any lack of trust that would have otherwise existed when we come together.

  5. Partner with other team members.
    In this prayer meeting that Peter called, present were five diverse groupings: the apostles, Mary the mother of Jesus, several women, the brothers of Jesus, and the other disciples. [3] To promote a loving environment, we have to transform our prayer moment or time of prayer into small groups. Each person gets to know each other and depends on each other. When this occurs the lack of trust goes out the window. In fact, you begin to trust each person more. As time goes on, a more solid and well-developed team forms, one that grows together, trust for each increases, and the bonds become stronger.

    We promote an environment that forges partnerships amongst the team. How we do it is by partnering team members. We call it “partner in wisdom.” There are two groups that are obvious: the experienced pray-ers and the not-so-experienced prayers. We pair an experienced person with a less experienced person. An older member of the team is partnered with a newer member of the team. In doing so, what happens is each team member begins to grow. Each person gets to take on or pick up attributes or encouragement from the person next to them. When we partner together as team members, we transfer culture. When we grow a bond, we can feel more comfortable interacting together. When we do that, there’s no more exclusion. “Partnering in Wisdom” promotes an environment of inclusion and helps us remove that feeling that “that person” exists. “That person” that we don’t want to come after when we pray, or that person who can outshine us in prayer no longer exists because we’re partnering together. Iron sharpens iron; one team member sharpens the abilities of another team member.

In conclusion, praying with others requires us to be intentional. You have to be intentional about how you want the outcome of the environment to go. Intentionally predetermines how we want the environment for the prayer meeting to be. In this way we can set anticipations and the expectations for all the players on the team. We are intentional about the time that we’re going to put in, and what we’re going to accomplish.  We spell out those expectations and provide as much information as we can to make sure we promote the right environment. We equip each player so that we can make sure each member feels loved. Each team member sharpens each other, growing week after week. Therefore everyone continuously gets better and better moment by moment, service after service, time after time. This is next level prayer!

Question: what ideas do you have to promote a positive experience when it comes to praying with others?

[1] Acts of the Apostles 1:15-26 NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed October 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/ACT.1.15-26.NLT
[2] James 4:2 NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed October 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/JAS.4.2.NLT
[3] Acts of the Apostles 1:12-15 NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬, Bible.com, accessed October 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/ACT.1.12-15.NLT

All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.

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