The Importance of Prayer in Community
Have you read the Bible story about Jesus healing the paralyzed man lowered through a roof by his friends?
Here’s a snippet for you:
“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up to the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus… So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately, he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.”
Luke 5:18- 19, 24b – 25
To read the full story of how this man’s life was transformed because of the people he surrounded himself with, turn to Luke chapter 5, verses 17-26 in the Bible.
Reading this more recently, I saw the story unfold through the eyes of the paralyzed man. My guess is that he had been paralyzed for much, if not all, of his life. He’d probably tried every option under the sun to receive his healing and nothing had worked. He had nothing left. His health, his pride, his money – all gone. He was over it.
Maybe his friends had to wear him down with persistent persuasion before he agreed to let them carry him on that mat. I can imagine him tired of not being able to do things for himself. Tired of having to ask others for help. Yet, there was a flicker of hope inside him. Just a flicker.
It was because of the four faith-filled friends, each carrying a corner of the mat, that this paralytic came face to face with Jesus and received his healing! Now, that’s what I call Kingdom friendship!
Perhaps, like the paralyzed man, you’ve reached a point where you’re over it. You feel like your faith is fading. You can’t even utter a simple prayer. You’re doubting whether God will even answer.
I’ve been there. Do you know what got me through? Being carried by the faith and prayers of those around me. When I couldn’t pray, they prayed. When I didn’t believe, they believed.
Why is being part of a faith-filled community so important in prayer?
1. The prayers of others will sustain you when your strength is fading
The paralyzed man couldn’t make his own way to Jesus. His condition didn’t allow it. So, his friends literally carried him to his miracle.
Another biblical example of this is Moses, Aaron and Hur when the Israelites went to battle against their enemies.
“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” Exodus 17:11-12
On his own, Moses didn’t have the strength he needed to continually extend his hands to the Lord. It was only with his brother and friend by his two sides that he could maintain this posture and witness victory.
You see those people by your side? Humour me here, I mean figuratively by your side. Those are your people. When you have no words to pray, they’ll pray for you. When you can no longer raise your hands, they’ll raise them for you. That’s why God put them there.
2. When your faith is wavering, the faith of others fills the gap
It was by the faith of the four friends that the paralyzed man received his healing.
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said, Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:20 (emphasis added)
Honestly, as faith-filled as I may seem to be, there are moments when I struggle to believe the thing I’ve been praying for years will be answered. I feel like I’m doing all the things I’m “supposed” to do – look to Jesus, pray, read God’s promises in His Word – but it doesn’t seem to be enough, especially in the depth of the valley. That’s where the view is most overwhelming.
It’s in those moments I turn to the community God has positioned me in for a reason.
Reaching out could look like sending a text, talking over the phone or chatting over coffee. These are the people who will stand with you in faith, believing for your miracle, healing, restoration and breakthrough. Even when you don’t.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
3. When you come into agreement, you release greater power for a breakthrough
Have you ever felt the electricity of the Holy Spirit that super charges a room full of praying people? Maybe you’ve noticed how much more energized you feel when praying at a prayer meeting compared to alone in your bedroom.
“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.” Matthew 18:19
There’s something about the people of God coming together in unity that really gets God’s attention. I’m not saying that God doesn’t pay attention to the prayer of an individual. He does – just read 1 Peter 3:12 and you’ll see for yourself!
I believe that when we pray with others, our prayers are less likely to be selfish and more likely in alignment with God’s heart. When we pray the will of God, we see Him answer our prayers in a big way.
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out to your loved ones and ask for prayer. God put them in your world for a reason!
Who are the faith-filled people has God placed in your community or inner circle? Take a moment to prayerfully identify each one. If you have a need that you’ve been struggling to carry, first place it at the feet of Jesus. Second, call one of those people!
If you found this post helpful, share it with a friend or your social networks! Let’s create more community, as God intended.
Written by Oyelola
Oyelola is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. When not writing for clients, she shares her musings from life with Jesus through He Speaks, I Write. Beyond writing, she enjoys throwing back a frothy matcha latte, bushwalks with friends and curling up with a good book.
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