Prayer For An Older “Single”
10 Things You Should Know about Corporate Prayer
This article is part of the 10 Things You Should Know series.
1. A Christian never prays alone
When we think about prayer, we might first envision something Eric Enstrom’s iconic print, Grace, in which a man bows his head at the table alone.
We tend to think of prayer as primarily a solitary and private activity, but the Bible tells a different story.According to Romans 8, the prayers of even one Christian are the occasion of a divine conversation in which Father, Son, and Spirit all participate. When we pray, God talks to God.
What’s more, Revelation 8:3-5 pulls back the curtain of heaven to show us that the prayers of all the saints are gathered together in the heavenly places and are poured out together to accomplish God’s great purposes. Even one person in prayer is never truly alone.
2. God’s people have been praying together since the book of Genesis
We don’t have to wander too far into the new-created world before we stumble upon a prayer meeting. Adam and Eve’s children, Cain and Seth, form the two families of humanity’s future, and these families could not be more different. The Cainites were extremely talented—they raised livestock, made music, and invented metal tools. They were also godless.
The Sethites, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have much in the way of outward credentials. We don’t read of any great strides in science or technology. Instead, we read that they “began to call on the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:26). In humble dependence on Yahweh—their relational, covenant-making God—the children of Seth held the world’s first prayer meeting.
3. God’s people will keep praying together for eternity
The Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that “prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God,” and when we read Revelation 19:1-8 we see that God’s people in heaven are doing just that.
Their sin is removed, their human weakness is put to right, and they eternally shout with thanksgiving the perfected desire of their hearts: “Hallelujah! . . .
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!” (v. 7).
4. Corporate prayer is valuable work that every believer can participate in
Sadly, even in the church, we sometimes value people who do things over those who can’t. We value the twenty-something, college-educated woman who rescues sex-trafficking victims over the seventy-year-old widow in a suburban nursing home. We value artists and organizers and big thinkers over children with disabilities.
But corporate prayer is valuable work for everyone in Christ’s church. The hosannas of children are no less precious to Christ than the eloquent praises of adults (Matt. 21:15-16), and, to quote John Owen, “the prayers of the meanest saints may be useful to the greatest apostle.”
5. Praying with other people teaches us about prayer . .
Chances are, most of what you know about prayer you learned from hearing someone else pray. Mary learned to pray from Hannah (Luke 1:46-55; 1 Sam. 2:1-10).
Saul (later Paul) doubtless learned something about prayer from Stephen (Acts 7:57-8:1). Even Jesus taught his disciples to pray by giving them an example (Matt.
6:9-13) and by taking them by the hand and leading them together to the place of prayer (Luke 9:28; 11:1; 22:39-46).
6. . . . and so much more
But praying with others doesn’t merely teach us about prayer. Theology, repentance, and right desires are also learned from the prayers of others as we gather together before our Lord. Indeed, praying together trains us in the whole life of faith.
Theology, repentance, and right desires are also learned from the prayers of others as we gather together before our Lord.
7. When one person prays out loud, everyone is praying
When I was a teenager, living for a time in the Highlands of Scotland, I worshiped with a Free Church of Scotland congregation. I’ll never forget my surprise on that first Lord’s Day when, as the elder began to pray, the entire congregation rose to its feet, standing for the length of the prayer.
In that moment, it was clear to me that the church at prayer is not a passive, half-drowsy, group of listeners; the church at prayer is a body at work, an army at war, and a congregation at worship. Whether we stand or sit or kneel for prayer, we must understand that when one person prays aloud, every person in the assembly is actually praying alongside him.
8. Whole-church prayer is vital
Even a casual glance through the book of Acts reveals that the early church was serious about praying together.
They prayed together in the temple and in their homes, when they were sick and when they were filled with the Spirit, at mealtimes and in times of persecution. Again and again we find them all together, devoting themselves to prayer.
As our local churches take up valuable projects in the places where we live and work, we must not neglect that most vital work that undergirds everything we do.
9. Household prayer is an important act of both hospitality and evangelism
19th century minister theologian J. W. Alexander wrote: “We are, perhaps, ready enough to make our guests welcome, to provide for their lodging and refreshment, to show them the wonders of our environs, and to invite friends for their entertainment; but, besides this, we owe a duty to their souls.”
By including our guests in our times of family prayer, we provide for their spiritual needs. If they are fellow-believers, our prayers will be an encouragement to them, welcoming them into the spiritual life of our home.
If they are non-Christians, our prayers can stand as a testimony before them, pointing them to the one who is Lord of our home.
Who knows but that because of our household prayers, we may one day find past dinner guests seated beside us at the wedding supper of the Lamb?
10. Resolution and preparation are the best equipment for overcoming reluctance to pray publicly
By some accounts, public speaking is the general population’s greatest fear; public prayer may be its Christian equivalent. Each of us has had times when we face the awkward pauses during group prayer time with dread—knowing we probably should pray aloud but unable to overcome our inertia and timidity to do so.
For these times, our best equipment is prior resolve to pray if given the opportunity and prior thought for what we will pray. Our topics might vary.
We could pick a short verse of Scripture, a particular need, or a single ministry of our church as our prayer focus, but the important thing is that we come to corporate prayer with intention to lead others to the throne for their good and for God’s glory.
Brothers and sisters, let us pray.
Popular Articles in This Series
Prayers for Singles
Singleness can be an extremely significant, fruitful, and impactful season of life.
Even more so when it’s a season lived with a sense of calling and purpose, both of which can be enhanced by praying the Scriptures.
After all, the apostle Paul said he wished that all people could remain single, as he was (I Corinthians 7:7).
Did he mean this literally? Is singleness actually superior to married life?
In some ways, perhaps. For example, later in the same chapter, Paul points out the single person’s ability to serve the Lord without being distracted by the needs of a spouse.
But I don’t think Paul’s point was that it would really be better for all people to remain single.
After all, according to God’s plan, no marriages would mean no children. Which would very soon mean the extinction of the human race.I think Paul was simply highlighting the value of single life here, elevating it to equal importance with married life.
Singleness isn’t the ultimate prize. And neither is marriage.
And some people happen to serve Him best as unmarried people. At least until God calls them into a Christ-centered marriage covenant.
Perhaps you’re already married – I hope that you’ll take this opportunity to pray over the singles in your life – whether they’re your teenaged or adult children, your friends, coworkers, neighbors, or fellow church members.
And if you’re single, please know that I’m praying these prayers over you, and I hope you’ll take some time to lift these prayers for singles to the Lord from your own heart.
Pray that God would grant you the grace to approve that which is excellent in order to be pure and blameless until the day of Christ (Philippians 1:10).
Consider before the Lord specific areas in your life – entertainment, employment, relationships, speech, thoughts, and others – and whether you’re habitually approving that which is excellent and resisting that which isn’t.
Acknowledge to the Lord that He knows the plans He has for you – plans to prosper you spiritually, and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Pray that you would faithfully use your life in service to Christ, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, trusting that God will meet your every need (Matthew 6:33).
Ask God to grant you a love for the Lord your God that consumes all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Pray that He would also grant you a love for others as you love yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).Pray that God’s Spirit would enable you to keep your heart with all diligence, for it flow the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). Ask Him to show you areas in which you haven’t guarded your heart. Confess and forsake any sin He reveals.
Tell the Lord of your desire to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Admit any struggle you have in doing so, and ask Him to strengthen your faith.
Pray that God would help your heart to be content in all situations during this season of life (Philippians 4:11), remembering His sovereignty and His goodness.
Ask for the Lord’s grace in leading the life to which He has assigned you and to which God has called you, with honor, reverence, and gratitude (I Corinthians 7:17).
Commit to the Lord that you will trust in Him with all your heart, resisting the urge to rely on your own understanding, and instead choosing to acknowledge Him in all your ways. Remind Him of His promise to direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Pray that God would enable you to be an imitator of God, as a dearly loved child. Ask Him to teach you how to walk in love, as Christ loved you and gave Himself up for you, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Affirm before Him your desire for righteousness, and that sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness would not be associated with you.
Commit also to banishing from your speech filthiness, foolish talk, and crude joking, which are place, but instead to let there be thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:1-4)Ask God to help you to trust in Him, to do good, and to remain within the safety of His boundaries for your life, thus enjoying safe pasture. Pray that He would cultivate in your heart a true delight in Him, and a willingness to commit your way completely to Him. Claim His promise to grant you the desires of your heart, as His Spirit works to conform your desires to His (Psalm 37:3-5).
Praise Jesus for existing before all things, for creating all things, and for sustaining all things. Confess His headship over body, the Church, and His identity as the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent (Colossians 1:17). Tell Him that you want Him to be preeminent in your life, in your relationships, and in your service for Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that You are a trustworthy and faithful God. Thank you for loving us – for seeing each of us as we are, for caring about us, and for including us in Your Kingdom work, no matter our marital status.
I thank You for the numerous and varied gifts that You grant us, Your children, and specifically today for the special gift that singleness is.
I pray that You would help each of Your children who are yet unmarried to steward this season well, for Your glory, making the most of every opportunity to serve You with complete devotion. It’s in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.
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