The Power of Corporate Prayer

How should God’s people respond to threats? Consider this:

So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

‘Why did the nations rage,

And the people plot vain things?

The kings of the earth took their stand,

And the rulers were gathered together

Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

(Acts 4:24-31)

How should God’s people respond to threats and persecution? In Acts 4:21, Luke reports that Peter and John were threatened by the authorities for preaching the Gospel. What should we do when this happens to us? Acts 4:24 describes what the apostles did; they lifted up their voices together in prayer. This is the power of corporate prayer – praying with a group of like-minded believers.

Respond with respect for the Lord and His Word

So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? (quoting from Exodus 20:11 and Psalm 2).

Begin your prayer with praise to the Lord God, who made heaven and earth and everything that dwells there. He is completely in control. In Psalm 2, God had described the rebellion of mankind against God. The apostles quoted this psalm as they cried out to God. Use the psalms this way in your praying and note how they help you to pour out your heart to the Lord. Use the Scripture in your praying to help you remember the Lord’s matchless control.

Respond with respect for the Lord and His Son

As you pray in the midst of persecution, remember what Jesus went through for you. God’s Anointed one endured horrible oppression from Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and the people of Israel. Yet God the Father was absolutely in control. Even when others meant it for evil, God meant it for good. When you are threatened, it’s the right time to pour out your heart before the Lord, knowing that Jesus went through the same things for you.

Respond with respect for the Lord and ask for boldness

Those gathered at the prayer meeting did not ask for an end to persecution. They asked for boldness. We should do the same. They prayed, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” So pray for boldness! If the fear of man intimidates you when there is little persecution, what will you do under heavy persecution? Pray for boldness.

What was the result of this prayer meeting?

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Let’s ask the Lord to give us this kind of unity and power as we pray together in this season of prevailing prayer. What was the result of their prayer meeting? “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Perhaps it was this very passage that E.M. Bounds was thinking about when he wrote:

Prayer honors God, acknowledges His being, exalts His power, adores His providence, secures His aid.”

—Gordon Dickson