Benefits for Praying
March 28, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
At our second Prayer Summit this past Sunday, I posed these two questions:
What are the pros and cons for praying alone?
What are the pros and cons for praying with groups of believers?
Megan Hill, in her book Praying Together, uses three chapters to speak about the benefits (or fruits) of praying with other believers. She explains how praying with others cultivates deeper love for these people. Praying with others also serves as an excellent means for discipleship, as we are trained by others’ prayers. Finally, Hill highlights one particular answer to corporate prayer: revival. Throughout the history of the church, God has blessed the church with revival when a group of people were praying together.
What about praying alone? On Sunday evening our group spoke about how when you pray alone you are not worried about how you sound or whether you are using the right words. Praying alone is a lot more convenient and readily available.
So, does this comparison make one type of prayer better than the other? Certainly not! We are called to be faithful and regular in praying alone and praying with others. I hope you develop regular habits of praying alone and with others. Let me encourage you in prayer with one more benefit.
As Paul wraps up his letter to the Philippians he gives a well-known command to pray with a hope-filled promise:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (4:6-7)
We often apply this to individual prayer, which is very appropriate, but let me highlight that the command is in the plural. Paul is calling the church community to not be anxious for anything. It is so easy to try to talk things out before praying; to strategize solutions before praying; to multiply worry before praying. Even with a group of believers, we need to let prayer proceed anxiety.
The benefit of such prayer is beautiful. “The peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is a peace that God produces, rooted in the assurance that he is in control and that he is good. This peace guards our hearts from the lies that undermine our assurance. It empowers our hearts and minds to cling to the hope of the gospel. Another way to translate “guard” is “keep.” In this sense God keeps our hearts and minds in Christ when we pray. What a blessing! We make our requests known and God guards and keeps us.
With so many benefits, why wouldn’t we want to pray?