Praying in Community
Sharon W. Betters
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16, ESV).
Our small group always ended with prayer, but our leader felt we needed to go deeper so she suggested that each person pray a sentence prayer, praising God for one attribute. Later one woman described how her heart pounded when she heard these directions. She avoided praying in public, in fact, she had never prayed a public prayer. She soon realized that she wasn’t the only one because a heavy silence filled the small room as each woman waited for someone else to start. Slowly, each woman spoke a few simple sentences of worship, and then it was this woman’s turn. “Dear Father, thank you for your love,” slipped from her lips.
The next week our leader asked us to turn to the woman sitting on our right and ask for one way we could pray for her by name. Once more, the fearful woman gulped and tried to still her racing heart. Minutes that felt like hours passed and then she heard her name whispered in prayer. Tears fell as she grabbed her prayer partner’s hand. No one had ever prayed for her by name in her presence. This woman, who had attended church all of her life, learned more in just a few weeks in this small community group about the power of praying for others and the need to hear others pray for her by name. She learned by watching others and then doing for others what they did for her.
The exhortations of our Today’s Treasure verses take on rich meaning when we confess our sins to one another and persevere in prayer, not just for ourselves but also for one another. Asking others for prayer and hearing them pray for us by name not only encourages us to persevere in our faith but also helps keep us accountable to grow in our obedience. Encourage your small group to share specific needs and to pray for one another by name. If you have not committed to doing life with a Christian community, ask the Lord to lead you to a church that is committed to discipleship through community. Find a group where you will experience the power of community as a means of growing up in your faith and investing in the lives of others.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon W. Betters is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, pastor’s wife, and cofounder of MARKINC Ministries, where she is the Director of Resource Development. Sharon is the author of several books, including Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness, and co-author with Susan Hunt of Aging with Grace. She is the co-host of the Help & Hope podcast and writes Daily Treasure, an online devotional.
For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.