The Power of Prayer
through the Word of God (24)
…they lifted up their voice to God WITH ONE ACCORD
Another important kind of prayer the Bible teaches about is united prayer. In this chapter we’ll look at some examples in the Bible of the results of united prayer. I’m convinced that believers have not realised the potential of power there is in united prayer.
United, Vocal prayer Is Biblical
There is so much in the realm of prayer that every one of us could learn if we would keep an open heart to the Word and the Spirit of God. Often in ignorance we can hold beliefs about prayer that are not in line with the word at all, but are really just traditions of men.
For example, when I first entered into Full gospel circles, everyone prayed out loud all together in meetings and it bothered me. I wasn’t used to hearing any noise when I was praying, so it was almost too much for me. I would try to pray with these Full gospel folks, but it was hard to concentrate on what I was saying to the Lord.
In a book I read the pastor who wrote this book commented on the following and I quote:
“Healing was what caused me to begin associating with Full gospel folks. I’d never heard the name “Full Gospel” before. I didn’t know of anyone who believed in divine healing except me. but some people came to my town about a year after I got my healing and put up a tent. They were Full Gospel folks. I didn’t go to the meetings at that time because I was busy with church work.
My grandmother was saved in an old-fashioned Methodist camp meeting. An altar call was given and my grandmother went forward and knelt at makeshift altar where everyone came to pray all together out loud.
Back then in those old-fashioned camp meetings, the Methodists would all pray together out loud. The believers would kneel down to pray in the hay that was scattered all around benches that were used as altars.
My grandmother attended the full Gospel tent meeting they were having in my town and she wanted me to go with her to the meetings. I asked her why I should attend. She said that the minister preached like I believed. She said he sounded very much like me. I stopped by one night and stood outside the tent, and I enjoyed his message. The next week I went in and sat down under the tent and decided to attend the entire week of services.
After the minister preached, he came back through the crowd doing personal work. He walked around the tent, shaking hands with people, asking if they were Christians. After he shook hands with folks, practically everyone gathered around the altar to pray.
The full Gospel minister came up to me and asked me if I was a Christian. I told him that I was a minister. He told me it wouldn’t hurt me to go to the altar and pray with the others. Then he just went on shaking other people’s hands.
We didn’t do things this way in our church, and for a moment, I felt a little bit insulted. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt he was right. After all, I’d never heard of prayer hurting anyone. So I went down there and prayed. But it bothered me because the people all prayed out loud, and I was used to praying quietly.
Later these same Full Gospel folks built a church, and I attended their services because the services helped and blessed me. The services seemed to stimulate my faith. I would go down to the altar and pray after the services, but I would get as far away from the others as I could because they prayed out loud and al that noise bothered me.
One time I ventured to say something to them. I said, “God is not hard of hearing.”
they responded, “he’s not nervous either!” Praise the Lord, He isn’t!
but at that time, I didn’t know any better. I was sure they were wrong about this kind of united praying. But then I got to thinking about it. I remembered that these folks knew about divine healing when my church didn’t. And they were right about divine healing. I thought that possibly they might know some other things, too, that I didn’t know.
They could be right about praying out loud together, and I could be wrong.
I decided that I was going to read through the Book of Acts and underline with a red pencil everywhere the believers prayed in a group with two or more praying. I was going to be preaching the same new birth they preached in the Book of Acts, and so I thought I might as well be following the Early Church in prayer too.
I began to really study the Word about it. One by one the Lord answered all the arguments I had against praying out loud. As I went through the Book of Acts and underlined those passages that talked about prayer, I couldn’t find one single place where they would call on one person in a group to lead them in prayer. They never called on just one person to lead them in prayer.
But I found in several places where it said they lifted their voices. (Acts 1:14; 2:1; 4:24; 16:25) They all prayed at once and they all prayed out loud. This is what is known as united or corporate prayer.
After I read this, the next time I went to the Full Gospel service, I got right in the middle of them as they were praying around the altar. I finally realised that I was not praying just to hear myself anyhow; I was praying to God”.
Someone might ask, and I have thought the same thing, “How can God hear al those people praying at once?” Then I began to think, Well, how many people all over the world are praying at once?
Of course, there would be many praying at one time. And yet God hears them all, doesn’t He?
After my mind had been renewed with the Word, I got blessed in a way that I hadn’t been blessed when I had been praying quietly alone. Certainly, there are times in our own private devotions when we should pray alone. But there are also times when we need to pray together.
I was already convinced that praying out loud was right, but the account of Paul and Silas in Acts chapter 16 was the clincher for me.
We have already looked at this account in relation to the prayer of praise and worship. But this passage of Scripture also illustrates that united, vocal prayer – or believers praying out loud together – is biblical.
20 And brought them [Paul and Silas] to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely:
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 and at midnight Paul and Silas PRAYED, and SANG PRAISES UNTO GOD: and THE PRISONERS HEARD THEM.
Here Paul and Silas were in jail at midnight. They had been whipped, and their backs were bleeding. their feet were in stocks. They were in the inmost prison (v.24.). But it says that at midnight Paul and Silas prayed.
That is a good time to pray! It was actually midnight when this happened, but I believe this word “midnight” is also significant in another way. Midnight can be symbolic of times of tests and trials in our life.
It can be “midnight” in your life even when it is when it is daytime. That is a good time to pray – at midnight – when you are faced with tests and trials. At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God in one accord, and the prisoners heard them.
Before I read this passage of Scripture, I would sometimes say to myself I believe in praying and praising God, all right, but I believe in being quiet about it! I have praises in my heart. But when I read verse 25, I saw that it says the prisoners heard Paul and Silas praying and praising God. So Paul and Silas weren’t quiet in their prayers.
You couldn’t very well hear a praise in someone’s heart! It would have to be on his lips for you to hear it. If I understand it correctly, the Bible not only says that the prisoners heard Paul and Silas praising god, but they heard Paul and Silas praying and praising. I’m sure it had and effect on those prisoners.
We don’t see enough of this kind of praying and praising God out loud in the church today.
In the same book mentioned earlier on the Pastor went on to say:
“After I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and left my denominational church, I accepted the pastorate of a Full Gospel church where people knew how to pray like this. Actually, the folks in this Full Gospel church did many things differently than we did in my former denomination, but I soon learned!
Someone in this church told me about a revival they’d had at the church some time before I came to pastor. People had come to this revival, not because they believed in revival, but rather as one would go to a show or circus just to observe. Actually, these people had come to make fun. But God had entered in and the same people who had mocked what was going on got saved. They had become members of this church that I had just begun to pastor.
The person who was telling me about this revival said that some of the folks would meet in the church in the daytime and pray for the evening revival services. These people had a heart to pray and didn’t mind who heard them.
One couple in the church had a son who was grown and married. The son had come to visit his parents and was attending church during his visit. During the day this son was driving his car past the church, and he heard people praying in the church.
later he said to his father, “We ought to go tonight because they are going to have a big one!”
His father asked, “Why do you say that?”
And the son answered, “because they are already at the church practising up. They have already started to practice in the middle of the afternoon!”
I believe sometimes that is the reason we don’t have a “big one.” We haven’ practised for it through prayer and praise”!
Continue to grow in your fellowship with the Heavenly Father. You can also learn to allow the Word of God to abide in you so you can pray according to God’s will, and your prayers will be answered. Then Jesus’ words in (John 16:24) will be fulfilled in your life: Your Joy will become full!
Best Greetings to all of you, brothers in Christ, may God bless you much as you continue to walk, the walk of faith in Jesus' Name. Praise and Glory be to God.
for the PREVIOUS reading.
for the NEXT reading.