Corporate Prayer is the term used when groups of people, such as a church congregation, a house group or a school, come together and all pray as one. You might see this in Sunday services, when one person prays intercessions on behalf of the whole church.
As many of you are probably aware, between Ascension Day (10th May) and Pentecost (20th May) there is a worldwide prayer movement called Thy Kingdom Come. This initiative encourages Christians all over the world, from all kinds of denominations, to spend 11 days for more people to come to know God.
So, why do we do this corporate prayer thing?
The Early Church
Firstly, let’s look to the Bible. Corporate prayer has been demonstrated by humans for many thousands of years, and we see its importance highlighted by the early church in the book of Acts.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.”
– Acts 2:42-44
Here, we see that even from the earliest stages of the church, believers gathered together for teaching, for fellowship and for prayer.
Learning from each other
One reason that this may have been so especially important in the early church, and why it continues to be so important today, is the way in which it teaches us. Most of what I have learnt about praying, I have learnt from watching and hearing other people pray. Hearing other people communicate with God helps us to explore how we can do the same. Through an initiative like Thy Kingdom Come we see so many different styles of prayer that we can try out and learn from!
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says:
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.’
– Matthew 6:9-13
Here we see that when Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he gave them an example – and they learnt from how he prayed.
Encouraging each other
As well as learning from each other about prayer, corporate prayer also gives us the opportunity to encourage each other in prayer. When a large group of people come together in prayer, we are standing side by side in battle, supporting each other. All around us, there are other people giving you ideas, reminding you to pray, holding you accountable and encouraging you. Hold on to this and use it to be encouraged and help those around you.
The global Church is one, giant family. We come from all across the world, from different denominations and from different circumstances. Yet we are all united under the same God. Coming together corporately, all praying to the same God, praying the same thing: for more people to come to know God. This one prayer, unifies us. Rather than focusing on our differences, we can celebrate something we all have in common!
Anyone can join in
Often, for a whole variety of reasons, we feel that we cannot join in with activities the church is running. Whether that be because we are working and can’t attend, because we struggle to get around outside, or because we don’t feel we know enough to join in. Corporate prayer breaks down these boundaries. You can pray wherever you are, whatever you’re doing and no matter how “good” you think you are. God isn’t looking for fancy words, he just wants to hear from you.
So, how can you join in?
- Check what your local church is doing – many churches hold special services, host prayer stations or prayer rooms for you to join in with.
- Explore the Thy Kingdom Come website for ideas on how you can pray as an individual or as a family – thykingdomcome.global
- Download the Thy Kingdom Come app (available on the iOS and Android).
- Follow along with my challenges and prayer prompts, shared each day on my Facebook and Instagram – make sure you’re following me to keep up to date with all of these!