Course Name: [ Christianity 101 ] Lesson Eight: [ Corporate Prayer ]

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1 Course Name: [ Christianity 101 ] Lesson Eight: [ Corporate Prayer ] Life is best experienced and enjoyed in relationship with other people. Belonging, sharing, connecting and contributing to someone and something beyond ourselves is a need inside every human heart. We are internally marked from birth with a corporate need. The Bible teaches us that being a follower of Jesus is a very corporate thing. While the decision to become a believer is personal, living out that decision involves connecting with other disciples of Christ. This is what church is all about being called out of sin and darkness by Jesus and called together by the Holy Spirit to become a people who fulfill His purpose of reaching our world with the gospel. While there are many individual aspects of our faith in Christ, there are also important corporate aspects. When we fail to grasp the corporate dimensions and to submit ourselves to the discipline of active church life and worship, we miss out on many wonderful spiritual growth opportunities. In this lesson, our focus is on one major element of church life praying together. We will see what the Bible has to say to us about the power of our corporate prayers. 1. God wants us to be praying people. Prayer is one of the most important and beneficial spiritual exercises we will ever engage in. The Bible makes it clear that: Prayer is a wonderful privilege for believers. Prayer is a rich personal resource for us. Prayer helps bring God s kingdom rule and will into this world. Prayer is a calling and responsibility for all believers. God s Word exhorts us to be people of prayer: Psalm 32:6 (Msg) Every one of us needs to pray; when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts we ll be on high ground, untouched.

2 Matthew 6:5-7 (NLT) When you pray, don t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. 7 When you pray, don t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Mark 1:35 (NLT) Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Ephesians 6:18 (NLT) Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Sadly, there are many believers who spend little personal time in prayer. Instead of scheduling time for this, they pray on the go. Is it any wonder why we miss so much of God s blessings and breakthroughs in our lives when we do not pray? Jesus wants us to be prayer people. We cannot be spiritually fit without this exercise. 2. God wants us to be a praying church. The Scriptures not only teach us about the privilege and power of personal prayer, but also the importance of corporate prayer. Mark 11:17 (NIV) And as he taught them, he said, Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers. To be a strong body of believers, we must pray for one another and with one another. This is one of the marks of a ministering church. Isaiah 62:6 (NLT) O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Acts 4:30-31 (NLT) Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus. 31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. This is the kind of church Jesus wants us to be, and it only happens as a result of prayer and in an atmosphere of prayer. However, many of us have the wrong concept of corporate prayer. We tend toward two extremes: Pastor Steve Rivera // Corporate Prayer // Page 2

3 The wish-you-well kind of praying sort of a campfire kumbaya experience. A hyper-spiritual kind of praying that degenerates into groping and groveling. It is not enough to know that we ought to pray for and with one another; we also need to know how. We must be trained in the process. This should include an understanding of various kinds of corporate prayer: Prayers of agreement. Matthew 18:19-20 (NLT) I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. Intercessory prayers. Acts 12:5-9 (NLT) But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. 6 The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. 7 Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, Quick! Get up! And the chains fell off his wrists. 8 Then the angel told him, Get dressed and put on your sandals. And he did. Now put on your coat and follow me, the angel ordered. 9 So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn t realize it was actually happening. Prayers for comfort and encouragement. Psalm 10:17 (NLT) Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. Prayers for cleansing and forgiveness. Psalm 32:5-7 (NLT) Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, I will confess my rebellion to the Lord. And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. 6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. 7 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Prayers for healing. James 5:16 (NLT) Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Pastor Steve Rivera // Corporate Prayer // Page 3

4 Prayers for deliverance. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NLT) We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. Prayers for wisdom. James 1:5 (NLT) If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. As we pray with and for one another, let s keep in mind some important guidelines: Be genuine, warm, friendly and caring in your interaction with others in corporate prayer. Listen with your mind and heart as prayer requests are shared. Seek to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Believe that God will use you and your prayers to help others. Participate in praying for others, even if you feel inadequate to do so. Don t dominate corporate prayer times or draw inappropriate attention to yourself. Be real, not hyper-spiritual, in your prayers. When praying out loud with a small group, make sure you include everyone don t leave others out. Pray beyond your own hurt and needs for others. Don t play God when you pray with and for someone else. Avoid putting someone in an awkward position in a prayer group by interrogating them or pushing them to participate in a way they are not yet comfortable with. Express gratitude to God as a part of your corporate prayers. A strong body of believers knows how to pray together so that God will be honored and work in and through us! Pastor Steve Rivera // Corporate Prayer // Page 4

5 Small Group Discussion Guide Getting Started What benefits have you seen in your spiritual life from participating in corporate prayer? Talking It Over Why do you think there are many believers who spend little personal time in prayer? What can you do to avoid this pitfall? What does it mean to be a praying church? What responsibilities does this put on each of us as members of the church? In what ways can you become more effective in praying with and for others in the church? Putting the Word to Work Look back over the seven types of corporate prayer and read the Scriptures given for each of these. Use this as a guide to pray for others this week in your personal prayer time and when you have opportunities to pray at church. Let the Lord teach you how to pray this way on a regular basis as part of your corporate worship and connection with the body of Christ. Memorizing the Word Matthew 18:19-20 (NLT) I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. Pastor Steve Rivera // Corporate Prayer // Page 5

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