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A Biblical Theology of Corporate Prayer

Corporate prayer is when Christians gather together to pray for one another or pray for a specific prayer point as a church community. For example, suppose a church sent out a mission team to a historically hostile nation to Christian missionaries. In that case, the church community will cover the mission team not just individually, but as a community, as they gather to pray corporately. Corporate prayer is also an option for the church community to help those suffering or going through hardships in life. As someone going through tough times, you are encouraged and blessed knowing your church community is with you in prayers.

Does the Bible teach corporate prayer?

Yes. Several different things are expected of a biblical church. Things like worshiping God together, having communion for believers (breaking of bread), having fellowship with one another, and teaching sound doctrines, just as the early church fathers (the apostles) taught us. Corporate prayer is included in the things mentioned above. Though the Bible does not specifically use the term “corporate prayer”, the early church 

gathered and prayed together, which is what we now know as corporate prayer. In Acts 2:42, the early church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. 

It is also important to note that corporate prayers are not a means to bend God’s will. Some Christians mistake corporate prayer as a time to pray for what they want, and then expect God to bend to what they want, since it’s a corporate prayer. Corporate prayer is done with the posture of humility, with a clear understanding that God is God. 

James 4:10

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Matthew 18:19–20

19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

2 Thessalonians 1:11

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

2 Corinthians 1:11

Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1 that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for all people. As a church community, there are many things that we can pray for corporately. 

1 Timothy 2:1

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

Below are some prayers that you can pray corporately.

For the government:

Heavenly Father, we gather today to pray for our government. We pray that the Holy Spirit will convict the hearts of our leaders and that You would cause them to choose the right and God-honoring decisions for our nation. We pray for open doors for our leaders to hear the Gospel. Open their eyes, Holy Spirit, to the truth of the Gospel. We intercede, Father, for our nation’s legislation, such that no law that condones evil shall be passed. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

For the church leaders:

Heavenly Father, we gather here today to pray for our church leaders. We pray that You always give them the grace and strength they need to fulfill their duties as ministers. We pray that You would protect them from the schemes of the enemy. We also pray that You would give them the grace always to live a life beyond reproach, one that will serve as a good example for us. Provide for their needs so that they shall lack no good thing. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

For fellow brothers/sisters in Christ who are going through tough times:

Heavenly Father, we pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are going through a season of suffering and hardship. We pray for comfort upon them and ask for the grace they need to keep on persevering. Remind them that You are always with them, no matter how hard the season they are going through and that Your mercies are new every morning. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Corporate prayer is not just about prayers, supplications, and requests. It could also be about giving thanks to God. For example, if someone in the church was healed or has recovered from sickness, you can thank God as a church community. Here is one of the ways you can thank God as a church community when someone is healed:

Heavenly Father, we thank You for your grace and mercy in the life of [person who got healed], who has been healed from [sickness]. All praises, glory, and adoration belong to You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

When we gather together as a church community to pray, we pray out of selflessness for the concerns of others, for our church, and for our nation more than ourselves. We weep with those who weep and pray for them too. We stand with them in tough seasons and carry the burden with them. In seasons of good times, we rejoice with those who rejoice and receive grace from God through the church.