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May 26, 2016
It is in fact the most normal thing in the common Christian life to pray together. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In an article from Christianity Today, Meghan Hill makes a compelling case for why we not only should ask people to pray for us but to pray with us:

… [W]e want people to pray for us. In his letters, the Apostle Paul repeatedly asked first-century churches to pray for him and his fellow gospel workers (2 Cor. 1:11, Col. 4:3, 1 Thess. 5:25, 2 Thess. 3:1). We should ask people to pray for us, but also be willing to take up the important practice of praying with others. Praying together—face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder—is one of our most precious privileges.

Paul and his companions knew this. They prayed together when they ate (Acts 27:35-38), when they arrived (Acts 28:15), and when they departed (Acts 15:14). They prayed with prisoners and with prison guards (Acts 16:25-34), they prayed with women and with children (Acts 16:13; 21:5-6). They prayed together constantly, thoroughly, and joyfully (1 Thess. 1:2).They prayed together "night and day” (1 Thess. 3:10).

Further on, Hill shares her experience with a prayer group in college, and despite her initial misgivings about praying with strangers, she soon grew to cherish the fellowship and support that praying together produces:

When I prayed by myself, I often found myself questioning whether my prayers rose any higher than the ceiling. But hearing my brothers and sisters bring my needs confidently before the Lord bolstered my own faith. Together in prayer we were a cloud of witnesses directing one another to the listening Father who tenderly welcomes the cries of all his children.

Praying together happens all around us, in church basement prayer meetings and in living room family gatherings. It can be as intimate as two friends praying once a month or as expansive as a community-wide prayer vigil. It can take place on lunch breaks, in carpools, and around kitchen tables.

And it starts the moment we say not just “Would you pray for me?” but “Would you pray with me?” and not just “I’ll pray about that” but “Let’s pray about that together.”

Don’t hesitate to ask people to pray for you – asking for help and spiritual support should never shame us. And in the same mindset, ask people to pray with you. God listens to each of us individually; imagine how much we can please Him by stretching out our hands to others, and inviting them to pray with us.
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