God created us to live our lives in community with others. God even exists in community with Himself — the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As we follow the example of the early church (see Acts 2:41-47), the first followers of Jesus ate meals together, spent time together, prayed together, shared with one another, studied God’s Word together, and much, much more.
Why should we pray together with other believers in Christ?
The apostle Paul wrote to some of his friends, a small community of believers who met together as a church in the city of Ephesus. Paul was in prison when he wrote the letter, put there because he boldly proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ, which angered the leaders of his day. Paul knew it was important for Christ-followers to pray for each other and with each other.
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should (Ephesians 6:18-20).
Paul knew that these Christ-followers would be praying with each other. He shares with them some instructions for prayer that apply to us today as well. They can guide our prayer efforts, as we pray together with other believers.
Pray at all times in the Spirit… because we are in a spiritual battle.
As we live our lives, and face the challenges of the day, we should remember that we are in a spiritual battle.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12).
Because we are in a spiritual battle, when conflicts and difficulties arise, the first thing we should do is pray. And how wonderful to have a spouse and also Christian friends that you can pray with! They help us to “pray at all times in the Spirit” (v18), which means praying in line with God’s Word and His will. Simply put, it’s difficult to pray selfish prayers when we pray with someone else because they will call us on it. We help each other to pray Christ-centered prayers.
Pray for and with other believers… because are messed up people living in a messed up world.
Our world is broken. The first-century believers had challenges in their day too. Paul encouraged them to pray “for all the saints” (v18). The Bible says that anyone who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is a “saint,” forgiven of their sins and put in right relationship with God. So biblically speaking, all Christ-followers are saints. We need to pray for each other.
We need to pray for each other for many things: physical needs, health concerns, fears, spiritual battles, financial needs, and more. So we should find a place to meet together — at church, at home, or maybe even at a coffee shop, to regular pray with each other. Also, send prayer requests to each other by text message and through social media. Pray for each other.
And if you not part of a regular small group (our church calls them Connect Groups) where you study God’s Word, develop friendships and pray together with others, then let me encourage you to become part of one. You need others for spiritual support, and they need you!
Pray for boldness to share Christ… because we’re on a mission from God and His mission matters.
Paul was zealous to tell others the good news of Jesus Christ. Yet, he asked the church in Ephesus (and all of the other churches that read his letter) to pray for him to have boldness to share the gospel. Re-read verses 18-20 above. Notice that he asks twice in two verses for them to pray for him to have boldness to share. The message of Christ was that important to Paul.
And it should be that important to us.
As we think about and pray for our neighbors, coworkers, class mates, teammates, and other folks that we see from day to day, we need to pray for God to open up a door for the gospel (see Colossians 4:2-4). And we ask for others to pray that for us. Additionally, we ask others to pray that we will have the right attitude and the boldness to share the gospel when God opens the door. The right attitude is an attitude of gentleness and respect.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
So we pray for boldness to share Christ, and we pray for an attitude of gentleness and respect toward those we are sharing Christ with. Ask people to join you in praying these things.
Let’s pray together.