June 6, 2021
Before We Meet Again – Collective Prayer | 2 Corinthians 1:11
On June 6, 2021, Pastor Eric continued his sermon series on the revival of the church. This week, he focused on what the congregation should do when it meets again as a group, once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
There’s something to be said about corporate prayer. The apostle Paul reminds the congregation at Corinth, that they are to expect suffering, especially suffering for their faith. He explained that suffering is normal, it’s part of life, especially for those who serve Christ. In 2 Corinthians 1:11, Paul says,
You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
The Bible says that the church that engages in collective prayer will be blessed.
What happens when we collectively pray?
When we pray as a group, we demonstrate our dependance on God and we show humility. James says if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. God draws near to a praying church. Jesus says His house is a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7). When we pray collectively, it demonstrates true humility. No matter how many years we’ve been attending church; how many years we have been Christians; or how well we know the Bible, we are to come together and tell the Lord, we need Him. It’s not only for us to learn about God, but for us to communicate with God. When we collectively pray, we depend on the Lord. Jesus blesses that kind of church.
Anything can happen
A few years ago, I was going through a difficult season. I preached for months but no one came to faith. I was making altar calls, but no one was giving their life to Christ… until, one day, as I studied the Scriptures, God showed me that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24). He didn’t say that it was impossible. He said it was difficult. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus also said, “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” At that moment, a light went on in my Spirit. If I’m going to rely on my own strength, it’s impossible, but if I rely on God all things are possible. I was encouraged. I said, “Ok Lord, I’m going to do it Your way”, and what a revelation it was! When we pray collectively, we choose to do it God’s way. We do what He called us to do. The book of Acts states many times that the Lord “added to the church”. Peter preached a message of Salvation. It was not Peter who “added to the church”, it was the Lord. When we pray collectively, all things are possible.
Prayer breaks the chains that restrain us and frees us from bondage. King Herod had beheaded James and arrested Peter. He planned to kill Peter as well, since James’ death was so well received. In Acts 12:5, we read, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” Thanks to prayer, Peter was rescued, unscathed. While he was asleep, an angel came to rescue him. After Peter realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of Mark. Many people were gathered there praying. Peter knocked on the door and a servant girl came to answer it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so happy she forgot to open the door. Instead, she ran inside and informed the group that Peter was at the door. They did not believe her. Peter continued to knock and when they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. How often do we continue to pray prayers that God has already answered? When God rescues a person, He sets the person free.
James 5:14 states,
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
We are to share our sins and confess them to each other and pray for each other, so that we may be healed. We can expect healing, because the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:14 also states,
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
When we gather together, we pray for each other. We pray for spiritual and physical healing. God is sovereign: He doesn’t always heal us like we expect Him to, or according to our time frame, but we are still commanded through Scripture to pray for the sick in faith. There is a type of healing that only comes through prayer and fasting and when the church collectively prays and seeks the Lord, we can expect physical, spiritual and emotional healing.
Unity does not happen just because we want to be united. People who pray together bond to one another. Prayer is the glue that binds Christians together. The unifying love believers have for one another distinguishes them from non-believers. In John 17:21, Jesus prays to the Father for us to mbe one. Unity is of capital importance to Jesus, because when the church is united, it’s a testimony to the world.
Other benefits of collective prayer:
We are more other-focused.
We are more mission-focused.
We become more Kingdom-focused.
Tommy Barnett, pastor of the First Assembly of God in Phoenix, Arizona said,
The presence of God in the midst of a church is directly proportional to the amount of prayer that takes place there.
Let this be our goal. God’s power is manifest when there is collective agreement and prayer.