Recently I met with my friend Stanely. Stanely is an American citizen, but was born and raised in Kenya. He is a devout follower of Jesus, a kind and loving husband and a gentle and generous father. He's got a million dollar smile and a heart that is passionate about Christ and His kingdom. When I'm with Stanely, I'm inspired to give myself more to prayer and to the simple life found within the gospels. My time with him does more for me than he may ever realize. During our most recent time together I noticed a few reasons why I love praying with Stanely, and more broadly, why I love praying with friends.
1. Family. The old social proverb says, "The family that prays together, stays together." I love spending time with friends in prayer because I am encouraged. Together, our hearts are strengthened as we position ourselves in humility before Father God. It's harder to be offended, unforgiving or unkind when you spend time together before the throne of God in prayer.
2. Support. As we pray together as friends, we cultivate a deeper trust and bond with each other. Stanely told me today that he can share anything with me because he feels safe and won't be judged. Praying with others provides relational, emotional and spiritual support. Think about one of Jesus' darkest times - His time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He did not encounter that prayer time alone, but wanted the support of His friends; His disciples.
3. Agreement. Jesus taught about the power of agreement and highlighted this kingdom truth when He said, "Again, 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." We find in Psalm 133 and Acts 1 & 2, the power of unity and being together in agreement in prayer. When my faith is struggling or my hope is low, I lean into the faith and hope of others. Plus, when I'm praying alone, I don't know what others are praying, I can't hear them. But when we pray together, we hear each other and we can agree together.
4. Insight into others. They say that most of our communication is non-verbal. When I listen to my friends pray, there are things I hear that they don't say. I hear the passion, the pain, the excitement, the hope, the uncertainty, etc. in their tone of voice. I hear the fluctuations within their prayer and identify what's weighing heavy on their heart. I can see the tears, the walking around, the energy they are using to pray. All of that says something. I would rather know someone by their heart and spirit, and not just from what I observe from across the room or from what someone says. Spending time with another in prayer allows us to gain insight into the heart of another. That's a priceless treasure.
5. Insight into myself. I learn about how others see me when they pray for me. As my friend Stanely prayed for me, I heard him communicate by faith, how he experiences me, what he loves about me and the things that he believes about me. While at the same time, in my own heart and mind, I'm not sure I believed those things. When we spend time praying with our friends, we can learn something about our own thoughts and prayers; both by what we pray and how we pray it, and as well as what others pray for us and how they pray for us.
It's my desire that you spend some time in prayer with your spouse, with your best friends, with others and discover why praying with others is a Kingdom way of living.