A number of years ago, I was discussing prayer with Dr. Oliver Price, former director of Bible Prayer Fellowship, who died in 2016. We were talking about how praying together brings people to unity and consensus.
Dr Price shared that in his “retiral” years, he had a ministry where he would be brought into a church that was about to split. At the time we spoke, he said he had a 100% success rate, and none of his churches split. His secret? He got the feuding parties to pray together.
“You want what the Holy Spirit wants for this church, don’t you” he would ask each group? The answer has to be yes, even if someone does not really want that. “Then let’s pray together asking God what He wants for our church,” he would say.
What Dr. Price knew, is that when people pray together, after a while they will let go of their own agendas and truly start to seek God’s agenda. When they do that, everyone starts to get in unity. I suspect this phenomenon is one of the main reasons for the truth of Matthew 18:19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” The agreement spoken of there, is not simply a “let’s ask God for this” agreement. No, it is a deeper agreement that came from individuals both believing that this is what God wants us to ask Him to do.
I remember a time a church I attended was looking to buy property. We had two options, and our people could not come to agreement on which to buy. It wasn’t a divisive thing, we just could not decide in unity, which one. We prayed. Had multiple times of prayer over this decision. God started putting visions of what ministries we could have on one of the pieces of property, but He put those ideas into people who wanted the other piece of property! Unity came through prayer!
Praying Together Brings Unity
One of the main benefits in the life of a church that has times of praying together, is unity. Sadly, however, because so many churches do not have times of praying together this unity often does not result. Decisions are made before everyone is in agreement, and people become disgruntled. (I can just about guarantee that those who are disgruntled with a decision did not pray with the Body over it.)
That’s why I continue to encourage churches to get your people to pray together. You will see things go smoother, decisions coming with less criticism, because of the unity that results.
If you want any further insight into how to make decisions through praying together, I recommend the book 7 Prayers for Discernment and Decision-Making by Kim Butts. It provides a process to help a group come to consensus on what God wants them to do.