Group Prayer; August 20, 2021


Luke 1:10-11 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.

I don’t think I’ve ever noticed before that Gabriel came to speak to Zechariah specifically at a point when there were people (the Japanese specifies many) outside praying. They certainly weren’t praying for an angel to appear, nor were they praying for Zechariah and Elizabeth to have a child, but they were praying. We don’t know exactly how it works, but there is such a thing as an atmosphere of prayer. When a group of people are collectively focused on God, it is much more likely that He will do something out of the ordinary. It isn’t “easier” for Him to act, though we might use that terminology, because nothing is difficult for Him, but you could say that circumstances become more conducive to His acting. It is certainly true that our hearts become more receptive to Him in such situations. I have heard numbers of stories of things that have happened at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where people often gather in considerable numbers to pray. I really think hindering group prayer and worship was a major purpose of the devil in inspiring people to create the COVID-19 virus. I won’t go into all the ramifications of that, but suffice it to say that united prayer is powerful indeed, and the devil fears it. If the devil is against something, we would be wise to be for it, and practice it as much as possible!

I tend to put a lot of emphasis on individual, devotional prayer, so this is an important reminder for me. I have indeed been in Christian conferences where the atmosphere of prayer was so strong that nothing at all would have been particularly surprising. Sadly, those planning such conferences have seldom placed real emphasis on that, but rather focused on the headlined speakers. Man focuses on the external, but God focuses on the heart! I get the newsletters from Intercessors For America, and they are very good and helpful, but at the same time they can be overwhelming. There are so many things to pray for! My default response tends to be to resort to a generic sort of prayer or praying in tongues, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t particularly focused, and the Lord has told me to preach this coming Sunday on Specific Prayer. I don’t have those notes yet, but it was good to have this Word from Him before preparing them. As I have said several times in the course of this months-long series on prayer, (with no end in sight) prayer is on the one hand so simple that we do better to be like little children in doing it, and on the other hand so deep that we will never “master” it until we are before the Throne, with no hindrances whatsoever to fellowship with our Father.

Father, thank You indeed for speaking this to me at this point. I do ask for clear guidance and anointing as I type the notes for Sunday, but more than that, I ask You to keep growing me in prayer, so that I may be so in tune with you that You find it very easy to use me to accomplish Your will, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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