You may have had various experiences in group prayer. There is a way we can be more strategic with praying prayers of agreement alongside one another, in the presence of Jesus.
Sometimes, the individual prayers of a group seem to follow a spontaneous agenda that develops in a linear fashion.
While the leader of a prayer group may have introduced the starting point in prayer as “prayer for x”, the prayer time moves in agreement from “x” to corresponding topics “a, b, and c,” in connected thematic prayer.
Sometimes, the Lord gives guidance for us to pray in a direction and the group follows that lead. With a responsive unity, they step together into whatever the Lord is leading them to pray for.
These are beautiful moments where you sense the Spirit of God and the unity that develops from praying in agreement and remain “in the flow” of the Holy Spirit.
This style of thematic prayer, agreeing around a topic of focus before moving on, is a wonderful experience and cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
The Opposite of Agreement: Disconnected Style of Prayer
At times, the style of group prayer seems the exact opposite of agreement.
It can be described as disconnected, long-winded, or scattershot prayer on topics that are not connected in any meaningful way or seeming to head in a succinct direction.
For example, one person may pray for their favorite topic no matter the agenda. The next person jumps into praying for healing Aunt Greta’s swollen pinkie toe. The next person jumps to next week’s youth trip. All three are unrelated to any particular topic at hand.
Another prays for provision of food resources for the poor where the church missionary serves.
Another prays for the pastor’s devotional life, while the next person prays for the city council to have wisdom.
This kind of group prayer seems like random noise-making, rather than building a sound foundation.
Charles Finney describes praying together:
He longed for such prayer,
Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer. Their spirituality begets a feeling of union and confidence, incredibly important to the prosperity of the church. It is doubtful whether Christians can ever be otherwise than united if they are in the habit of really praying together.
And where they have had hard feelings and differences among themselves, they are all done away, by uniting in prayer. The great object is gained if you can bring them really to unite in prayer.
If this can be done, the difficulties vanish…
The evangelist Charles Finney often experienced the glory of praying together during church meetings.
We Pray Together as the Royal Priesthood
Jesus wants Christians to pray as the Church. We Christians are the “royal priesthood” who follow Jesus, the true High Priest.
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)
We do not want to lose the concept that God brings us together primarily to be a “royal priesthood: to pray.”
If as stated in the old covenant, “one man [could] chase a thousand,” then “two [could] put ten thousand to flight,” then the increase in power and the outcome is exponential when united in agreement. (Deuteronomy 32:30)
When Queen Esther went before the king to make her request, the people fasted in prayer for her and the situation at hand. They fasted for victory, together. (Esther 4:15-16)
We have the promise of Jesus in Matthew 18:20 that he is there present in our midst when we have gathered. It is much easier to pray together when you realize He is right there and not far away.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.Matthew 18:20 (NIV)
Group prayer no longer becomes a rigorous task, but a joy filled opportunity to spend time in the presence of Jesus, doing the work of prayer that he calls us into to agree in one accord.
Praying in Agreement Can Help to Demolish Strongholds
Prayer is a powerful weapon that demolishes strongholds.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.2 Corinthians 10:4 (NIV)
We demolish strongholds when we learn to implement what Jesus taught us in prayer: “to agree about anything they ask for in My name.”
Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)
The Greek word for “Agree” συnφωνέω means to come to agreement with, usually as a joint decision.
- He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. (*Matthew 20:2)
- The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written (Acts 15:15)
Other historical uses of the word agree describes:
- The harmonious sounds of instruments playing in unison
- The fitting together of stones of a building
- To reach agreement between parties of a contract
Prayer of Agreement is Not Placing Demands on God
Though this word can be used to describe a legal contract between two parties, it would be a misappropriation of meaning to say that we are making a deal with God and God is thus beholden to what demands we make in prayer. “If we pray it, it must be so,” is the error to avoid.
The root concept of the word συnφωνέω (agreement) is two parties/instruments aligning together to accomplish something together.
When we gather in the name of Jesus, we gather to accomplish His purposes.
When we pray in agreement, we seek to pray into reality that which the Lord wants and desires. We bring ourselves into agreement with His Word by the leading of His Spirit.
So then, here the question stands: What does a prayer of agreement look like, when we gather in His name?
A Pattern for Praying in Agreement
What could praying in agreement look like in practice? There are many different ways you can agree in prayer.
One style is responsive — where a leader reads a brief petition, and the rest of the group says “Lord, hear our prayer.”
Another style is the leader announces a topic, and everyone prays out loud all at once. Some will do this in their first language, some will pray in their prayer language. Everyone prays at the same time.
We practice a style of praying in agreement that we have learned over many years of doing prayer ministry around the world.
It is a style that presumes that we can receive guidance from the Lord and pray obediently in the direction that the Lord gives us.
It is a style of praying out-loud, one at a time so that each participant can “add to” the prayer that has just been stated.
1. Ask the Lord for Initial Direction
When your prayer group gathers, the leader may already have a direction for prayer.
Groups that meet regularly may already have an agenda determined by others. These may be already shaped by their pastor, board of deacons, or a prayer request list from their small group.
Other times, the prayer group might not have a starting list, but the leader of the group will already have general sense of direction or prompting by the Holy Spirit on where to begin.
The key is to start with asking the Lord how to guide your group through the prayer items at hand.
Even when one brings a list of things to cover in prayer, spend time as a group asking the Lord how to cover those specific topics in prayer.
Sometimes that list might be a starting point for a deeper direction in prayer with that group, as the Holy Spirit leads you forward.
2. Pray Conversationally Around the Theme
Conversational prayer is the style of praying together around a specific theme, typically one subject at a time, until that prayer topic seems exhausted or complete for the time being.
Each person as led by the Spirit can “add to” the theme with a prayer that goes deeper into one point, much like one brick is added to another to build a strong and fortified wall.
The beauty of such conversational prayer is that the Holy Spirit can speak to the group and direct further prayer through presenting new ideas or discernment that comes from listening to one another.
It feels like a harmony of instruments working together to make a beautiful symphony of prayer.
Prayer points can be covered in far greater detail, when each person prays their own part.
These are usually short prayers, maybe a few paragraphs in length.
This form of prayer is in contrast to 20-minute sermons disguised as prayers, or 15-minute monologues on 17 topics.
Long prayers can quench a sense of direction, quiet one’s ability to receive guidance, and even frustrate those who are ready to pray who must keep waiting and waiting for an opportunity to share.
Sometimes, those who can pray in tongues, might do so quietly without causing distraction from the one praying at that moment.
Read More: 4 Expressions of the Gift of Tongues
3. Allow Time for Silent Listening
To allow time for a moment of silence gives us the space to hear from God and receive guidance from the Spirit.
Prayer is a dialogue with the Lord. Listening has its place.
There are many various ways that God can speak to us in prayer.
When we receive guidance, we often must take that step of obedience and start praying conversationally in that given direction to head where the Lord is leading.
Individual prayers, accompanied by softly spoken “amens” and other signs of agreement reveal a sense of unity from the rest of the group in the direction of the Holy Spirit’s leading.
A Word Picture: The Jigsaw Method of Prayer
When you first dump a jigsaw puzzle on the table, it is a random pile of pieces in no particular order. There is no visible outcome present and none of the parts seem related to the whole picture.
Praying in agreement, where each prayer seems like a puzzle piece, is the work of joining together similar pieces of the puzzle into a unified whole.
Praying in random directions makes no effort to hook the pieces together, leaving a sense of random pieces on the table.
A better way forward for group prayer is to let our prayers build on each other’s prayers. One person starts and the next person picks up the theme and continues the prayer in agreement, adding to the one before.
To use the jigsaw illustration, the first person puts their puzzle piece down and then the next person puts a connecting piece down.
To do that well it requires everyone paying attention to what is being prayed and everyone needs to be listening to the Holy Spirit, who guides and directs where the next prayer piece needs to go.
So, at the end of the prayer time, there is a picture, which has formed.
Praying in agreement by building on each other’s prayers is a powerful way of effectively covering issues with prayer. It allows the different gifts of individuals to be used together, it enhances fellowship as the Holy Spirit directs, and brings the jigsaw puzzle picture together.
Listen to a Description of Praying In Agreement
Praying in agreement is a powerful way to effectively cover issues in the heart of prayer by coming alongside one another in true fellowship.
It enables the contrasting gifts of individuals to be linked together and enhance fellowship with the Holy Spirit. A sense of deep koinonia can develop in the group as they continue to unite in prayer.
Through Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, each Christian is called to share in advancing the kingdom of God through prayers of agreement.
To pray in this style, we can determine the direction God wants us to go.
We can trust the sovereignty of God in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, praying into the direction that He is leading both individually and corporately.
What is your experience with prayers of agreement?
Have you experienced praying in agreement?
What was one key you found, when you prayed in agreement?
Comment below and share with us what you learned.