It goes without saying--well, it should go without saying--that Christians ought to pray. In Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches, Megan Hill calls Christians not only to pray, but to pray together. Hill reminds us that prayer is a communal experience. When we pray together, "we nurture our relationship with our triune God and with his people--a relationship that will never end." When praying together, we are following the example and exhortation of the New Testament, which "tell us to pray together. With everybody. Everywhere. About everything."
The fruit of praying together is "love, discipleship, and revival." Hill tells stories of answered prayer and revivals sparked by prayer that you may not have heard of. By its very nature, corporate prayer does not draw the same sort of attention that other forms of Christian activity might. Hill points out that "contemporary Christianity is plagued by unbiblical elitism. We esteem Christians who do stuff." And we don't really look at prayer as doing something. When we gather we tend to want to have more of an agenda than just "pray."
Praying Together is practical and convicting. Many prayer meetings I have been in have been about prayer in name only. Fellowship is important, as is teaching and preaching, but we need to pray together, too. Hill writes that one benefit of structured corporate prayer time is the regularity of it. Even if you don't feel like praying, you can show up and agree with the others. She describes how to pray when you are the one speaking, and how to pray when you are listening to someone pray.
Prayer can be hard. It's a discipline to learn and to practice. But it's something we learn by doing together. Children learn from their parents, praying at home. We learn from each other in our prayer meetings. Corporate prayer can bring us together with Christians from other traditions. And most importantly, prayer brings us together into the presence of God. Let us pray.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
2016 Reading Challenge: A book on prayer