I’d been praying about a certain logistical matter for many days. In order to move forward with an assignment the Lord had given me, I needed help from someone else. But that help wasn’t coming. I’d prayed about it a lot—but nothing was happening. Still, it didn’t seem like a Big Deal prayer request to me. It was one that I should pray about on my own—not the kind you share with a bunch of other people. Or that’s what I thought, anyhow.
But, as I said, nothing was happening. And with that specific door shut, I couldn’t move forward in what the Lord had indicated I was supposed to move forward in. Weeks later, that door still wasn’t budging. So I kept on praying.
Then, this past Sunday night, when I was meeting with my home group, God surprised me. Ask them to pray with you about what you need He seemed to be saying.
Really? I hadn’t expected that. When it’s time to pray in home group, I ordinarily share mostly Big Deal prayer requests. My need seemed too small to bother others with. Surely God would bring it about eventually without me making a Big Deal of it.
But God’s nudging in my spirit continued. So when it was my turn to share requests, I asked my friends to pray with me about my small but necessary logistical matter. And they did. There was no earthquake, no bright lights, nothing special. But it was nice to have friends praying with me.
I went home that night and didn’t give it a second thought. But the next day, before lunch, I got word that the person I needed help from had come through! For nearly six weeks I’d been praying and nothing happened. But less than 24 hours after my friends prayed with me, God’s answer came! I barely was able to keep from doing a happy dance right there at work.
Jesus said, “that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19). So someone might wonder: Did God wait to answer my prayer until I got the right number of people praying on the same page with me?
I’m reluctant to say that. From what God has shared with me about Himself, He hates being put into boxes. He hates being reduced to formulas. He wants relationship with us because He loves us and longs for us to love Him back. Prayer is a means to deeper relationship with Him; it is not intended primarily as a means of getting God to do stuff for us.
So what was going on, then? Why did God not seem to answer my prayer request when I prayed it on my own, but answered it so quickly once I’d enlisted prayer partners?
I’m not sure, but I wonder if it was simply because He wanted to encourage us as a home group. We all want to grow in our relationships with God through prayer. We all want Him to increase our faith. When I kept my “little” prayer requests private, no one else was able to participate with me in the asking, and no one else could celebrate with me when God gave the answers. God made us to be a body, and He seems to love to see us seeking Him and enjoying Him together.
Please don’t hear me saying that if God isn’t answering your prayers, you need to enlist a bunch of other people with you so He will. Please don’t make a formula out of my story. However, please do consider inviting friends to join you in prayer about matters both big and small. You never know what all God might be up to—and if you invite others to join you, that’s all the more people who can enjoy seeing God at work. You never know what He might do!