May 17, 2015
READ: Isaiah 56:1-8
My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations (v.7).
There’s a prayer meeting at my church tonight. Instead of feeling energised by the thought of praying with others, an unexplained tiredness falls heavy on me. Maybe I should go home to rest. I won’t be missing much, will I?
Yes, I’m describing a personal struggle here. Perhaps you too have wondered: Why should I participate in corporate prayer? Can’t I just pray at home by myself? Isn’t prayer a personal thing?
Jesus showed us by example that there’s a place for both individual and group prayer. He often withdrew from the crowd to pray (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35); He also took a small group of disciples with Him at times (Matthew 26:36-38; Luke 9:28).
An illustration shared by James Banks in The Lost Art of Praying Together explains it well. I paraphrase:
Once there was a king who had seven sons and daughters. One day the children had a good wish that would benefit the kingdom greatly. So they sent the eldest brother to make their request. But the father didn’t say yes. Instead he asked the son to bring his sister so she could make the request too. The matter repeated itself until, in time, all the sons and daughters were standing together before the king. They made their request together, and the king consented immediately. He said, “I love all of you dearly. Make no mistake about that. Each of you has a special place in my heart. But when I see all of you together, agreeing on what is good, my heart overflows with joy. Ask what you will, for all that I have is yours.”
Our Father desires His house to be known as “a house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7). He delights to see us praying for one another and with one another.
—Poh Fang Chia
365-day-plan: Psalm 139:1-24
Read Matthew 6:9-13 and ponder the things Jesus taught the disciples to pray for. Notice that it’s an “us” prayer and not a “me” prayer.
What comes to mind when you think of prayer meetings? What other verses in the Bible can you think of that encourage corporate prayer?