9 Benefits of Praying in Community

9 Benefits of Praying in Community

A few months back, I read a really wonderful article on John Piper's website about the profits of praying with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Many of his points were ones I've found to be incredibly true in my own life – since starting the dinner club, a few of us have become accountability partners and we meet weekly to pray for one another and be invested in each others' lives. The prayer I've seen move in that group is so different than the prayer I've experienced on my own. The bond we're forming in that is continuing to keep our friendships centered on Christ and not ourselves. And when I'm going through seasons where I'm finding it hard to pray on my own (like now), it's often their prayers on my behalf that bring the communication with God that I need when I can't do it on my own. 

To be honest, prayer is one of the hardest aspects of our walk as a Christian. It's safe to say the majority of us will always feel that our prayer life is "lacking." But isn't it true that the greatest things in life are never easy? When I think of praying on my own versus praying with a group, I'm personally more inclined to pick praying alone. There's too many extra anxieties associated to praying with others, plus, if I commit to praying on my own I don't have to worry about "getting it right" – or even doing it at all. I have no one really keeping me accountable (unless I'm forcing myself to write out my prayers as documentation). But all of the reasons I'm hesitant to pray in a group are so obviously fears that are keeping me from the Lord. So, let's be brave. 

I thought Piper's article was a little theology heavy, so I took his points and made them a little more accessible and added my own experiences to them as well...

1. There's power in numbers.

Matthew 18:19-20 states, "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. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Though there's much mystery in this text (We'll get what we ask for? Does that mean what it literally means?), the overall message is that when we gather and agree, it is pleasing to God. When we gather in His name, seeking Him and doing our best to cast aside our selfish motives, He promises that He is there with us in that. His power is affirmed when we gather together in His name.

2. Multiplied joy.

What if I prayed on my own toward some end – maybe for finding a place to live in Austin. I could research on my own, pray about it, go out and actively look, be discouraged, pray about it, have something work out, then pray praise about it. This is good. But how quickly do I forget? What if instead, I presented my need to my friends and we prayed together that I would find a place. I would instantly feel supported. I would research, update them, and know they're praying for me when we're not together. I would go look – tell them I'm discouraged. We could hop on a call and pray together. I find a place – I let them know we're successful! They would be so excited, and we could pray praise together over this. 

Then, when I'm fretting about the next "big worry" of my life three months later, how sweet would it be for me to be able to turn to these friends and have them remind me of all the ways God has provided before? And especially in truly difficult situations where we're not sure what will happen... and we all see how the Lord provides. It strengthens not just my own faith, but theirs as well. It's not just that I have joy in Christ, but they do as well. 

3. Greater glory.

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. When we give thanks to God, we honor Him – and this creates deep gratitude. 2 Corinthians 1:11 says, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” Praying together not only adds power to the request, but also gets others involved – bringing more glory to the Giver when he answers.

4. Fruitful ministry and mission.

In his letters, Paul called upon so many churches to pray for him – he could've easily done this himself, and I'm sure he did. But he knew asking others to pray for him would increase the fruit created in his ministry. And don't think of ministry as just "ministry!" What that simply means is how we live our lives to create disciples – and that can happen in anything we do. Prayer increases the opportunity not just for this to happen, but for us to clearly see it happen in our lives.

5. Unity among believers.

Praying together is one of the most powerful things we can do to cultivate unity with and among our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a unity given to us as Christians when we come together centered on Him and not on ourselves (see point 1) and that unity is strengthened as we "do life" together. Acts 1:14 says it was "with one accord" that the first Christians "were devoting themselves to prayer." They did it together and supported each other in being devoted to their prayer lives. We are given "the unity of the Spirit" as a body of believers, and yet we are "eager to maintain" it (Ephesians 4:3). So, praying together effects both the unity we share in Christ among ourselves, and effects that unity to become deeper and richer. It is both a sign that unity already exists among us as brothers and sisters (God has given us that gift, thank goodness!), and is also a catalyst for more of it. 

6. Answers we might not get otherwise.

James 5:14–16 (and many other passages of Scripture) implies that there are some answers to prayer we just wouldn't get without involving others in our prayer:

"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 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."

God means for some answers to prayer to wait for others to join with us in the plea. Whoa. Like I noted in the intro to this post, we often pray alone for our personal needs – and God is pleased to answer. But sometimes, His means include others, such as the leaders of the church, our community or small group brothers and sisters, or just the humble prayer of a fellow sinner made righteous in Christ.

7. To learn and grow in our prayers.

The best way to learn to pray is to pray with others... especially those who have had their prayers shaped by Scripture. Listen for people in your life who's prayers draw you personally into more communion with Christ. Listen to how they approach God, the types of things they thank him for and/or ask him for, and how they keep others petitions and praises in mind when you're praying together. And even beyond the things we can study and be conscious of in someone else's prayers, know that we’re being shaped in profound ways for good when we join our hearts with others in prayer.

8. To know each other.

One of the best ways to get to know a fellow believer is to pray together. It's in prayer – in the conscious presence of God – that we’re most likely to let our walls down. We hear others’ hearts in prayer in a way we can't anywhere else.

When we pray together, not only do we reveal what most captures our hearts and what we truly value, but as we pray together, says Jack Miller in Tim Keller's book on prayer, “You can tell if a person is really on speaking terms with God”.

9. To know Jesus more.


This is by far the greatest benefit. When we pray together, in Jesus's name, we grow to know Jesus better. With our personal limited vision, perspective, and experience, there are aspects of Christ we’ll see with more clarity when we're with others. Our own experiences and personalities emphasize some features of His glory and make us blind to others. And so Tim Keller observes, “By praying with friends, you will be able to hear and see facets of Jesus that you have not yet perceived”.

The point of prayer is not getting things from God – but getting God. This benefit alone outweighs the rest and will be a motivator that consistently provides.

Do you have people in your life that you pray with? What does praying with people look like in your life?

Investing (literally) in friendship

Every year since graduating college, my friends and I have set aside money for one thing and I've never regretted it... 

Investing (literally) in friendship - that's pretty ace

An annual friendship trip. We pick a weekend that we have open – Labor Day has been especially popular for us! – and mark it in our calendars as our "friendship weekend." We make a game plan of who wants to road trip and who wants to fly, and we take turns hosting the group. When we graduated from college we all went on a cruise together, and since then, we've held our annual trips at each other's homes or parent's houses.

How to do it: Pick dates that make sense for your group (holidays can be helpful!) and plan accordingly. Use Doodle to set up a poll and have everyone select the dates that work for them. Buying plane tickets as early as possible alleviates sticker shock. Instead of traditional hotel rooms, consider doing home exchanges or renting a vacation house (check websites like VRBO) to significantly cut travel expenses. Want to satisfy your wanderlust on a budget? Groupon even offers group getaway deals. You could head to the beach, out of the country, or even stay at a posh resort nearby for a steal. You could even consider camping with your girls to save a buck and make hilarious memories. 

Is this something you would consider doing? Do you do this already with your friends? What are your go-to tips and tricks?

What you can do for someone with cancer

Cancer is scary – for everyone. When someone you love is diagnosed with it, it can often be hard to find the words to say. "Cancer sucks" may be true, but what words can you use (and not use) to affirm and build up your loved one? My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and our whole family took it hard. Her mom had passed away from the disease years before, and the memories from that time compounded with the news to make us feel as if our world was collapsing. God is so good, and thankfully, my mom was declared cancer-free just one year after her diagnosis. I asked her recently what people had done for her during that year that were truly helpful, because I think so often it feels impossible to know what you can do or say to be a good friend in the midst of something as scary as cancer. I'm so honored to share her words with you today...


When I was diagnosed with cancer, there were several things that people did that were so helpful... Here are a few things I would suggest you can do (and can avoid doing) to make the day of someone with cancer:



  • Say the vague but often used statement, "Call me if you need me!" They won't. Understand that they're likely too overwhelmed to ask what they need, they don't want to be a bother, and it may be very difficult for them to lose some of their basic independence. Take the initiative by offering specifics, like walking their dog, picking up their kids from school, watering their flowers, or doing their laundry. 
  • Visit without checking in with them first. Your first instinct might be to go to their side and spend time with them, but a cancer diagnosis involves a wide variety of emotions and they might not be up to having visitors. If they turn down your offer to come hang out, don't take it personally... but feel free to ask again another time. They'll always appreciate that you asked.
  • Always ask for all the details about the current state of your friend's health. It can get difficult to have to share the details over and over again, and there's certainly more to them than just a cancer diagnosis. 



  • Deliver a meal. Make sure to ask in advance if they have any dietary restrictions, are following any guidelines, or if anything in particular sounds terrible. I remember certain things tasting awful because of the way the chemo affected my tastebuds. Stay for a visit, or just drop off the food if they're not up for it – a cooler left outside the front door is perfect for this. Deliver a Tupperware of several pre-made meals your friend can heat up as needed. Use Tupperware you don't need returned.
  • Offer to run their errands. Groceries, toiletries, picking up prescriptions, you name it. Be in and out, no socializing needed. 
  • Offer a ride to chemo and keep them company during the treatment. Even better, commit to giving a ride on a regular basis throughout their treatments. I had a friend who picked me up for my treatment every Friday morning, large Sonic drink in hand. She waited while I got my treatment, then took me home. It gave me something to look forward to on Fridays, but it also freed up my husband to get some work done – it was hard for him not to feel as if every little thing was his responsibility alone to do while I was sick. 
  • Offer to do something fun with their kids. Cancer effects everyone living in the house – not just the person with it. If they have kids, offer to take them somewhere for an afternoon to do something fun. My treatments covered an entire summer, so there were a lot of days that they were stuck at home with me. Also, taking care of someone with cancer is a big responsibility, and is probably a big shift for any kid in the house to handle. Invite them to dinner or a movie one night or Saturday afternoon. Just getting away from it for a little bit “recharges the batteries.”
  • Gift a super comfy blanket. I promise it will be one of their favorite and most-used gifts – I had a blanket with me at all times. It kept me warm when I was (often) suddenly cold, and it made the car rides to and from treatment so much more bearable to my bones. 
  • Send a quick email, text, or message saying you're thinking of them. Text them a silly joke or photo (we can all use cheering up from time to time!). Add "No need to respond" to the end of your message – they'll appreciate hearing from you without feeling the need to do anything in return. Just the reminder that they are loved and have someone on their side is often enough to get through the day. 

Empathy card by Emily McDowell, photo of my mom and I by Lauren Kinsey

Recap: Pause & Pray

A few weeks ago, a little group of us got together to spend a weekend in prayer. We didn't really know what to expect (myself included, even though I had been planning for months!). We ended up having the most restful bonding time. 

A family friend let us use their lake house for the weekend, and it was a huge blessing. Though the lake it sits on is in a drought, we were still able to enjoy the view of the water – we were even fortunate enough to have a beautiful spring day make an appearance! Saturday we spent the whole day going between sections of discussion and sections of prayer time, both alone and with partners. 

We divided up our prayer time into four sections:

  • Meditation – reading His Word and spending time letting it sink it and resonate, asking God what He would want us to see there
  • Praise – using His Word to inspire ways we can give Him praise, even when it's hard
  • Confession & Repentance – seeing our own sin and selfish desires, confessing them to the Lord, and repenting
  • Petitionasking Him for His aid in every aspect, with our lives and the lives of those around us, with the world, etc.

We ended our time together on Sunday morning by sharing our petitions with a prayer partner and discussing the importance of prayer in community. The quiet away from the hustle and bustle of our every day was so restoring. 

One of my favorite things from the whole weekend was just chatting with the girls. Saturday night we stayed up talking (and playing Spoons). We started by discussing how it's hard to pray – to begin praying, to stay focused in praying, and especially to pray for longer periods of time – and ended up talking about all sorts of topics. It was such a joy getting to learn about one another. I had come into the weekend so anxious and unsure of what to expect. I was worried I didn't plan enough, or that I would come across as bossy. God was so good to soothe my heart. The whole day naturally revolved around resting in Him, and I can't describe fully how restorative that was for my soul. Thinking I probably could use more time like this in my life :) 

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A Little Note from Me to You...


"In a world where it is so easy to hop online to email or to send a fast text, it is so personal and so precious to know someone chose to turn off the virtual world to spend some time with you." 

I'd love to make a simple proposal. Let's be pen pals.

God has kept stirring this little simple idea in my heart for awhile now, so here it is. I know how often I stare at my texts thinking, "I wish we could be chatting in person! This isn't enough. I want to spend more time with you." But with friends scattered across the big, giant state of Texas, time in person isn't always attainable. Facetime and skype is fun, but it rarely "fits the busy schedule" and I always forget to ask the more important questions like, "How are you? How is work going? Are you doing ok?" I've found letter writing forces me to slow down, and it feels so much more natural to have a deep conversation.

Another thing I love about pen pals specifically is the good work done in our hearts when we don't know what the other person looks like. Fighting comparison, especially in how we look, is a battle we all share and that we all must encourage each other to keep fighting. A common place I go with meeting someone new is thinking, "they're too cool / too beautiful / too ____ to be my friend. I don't deserve this friendship." And then I never pursue them... and typically don't let them pursue me. How heart-breaking this is for all of us.

Lastly, I'd love to challenge all of us to become what some would call "prayer warriors." I've heard this term used from time to time, typically someone saying, "oh, I need to tell ___ about this because she is a prayer warrior. If she prays about it, things will happen." Friends, this is a name you can give yourself. Right now. The power of your prayers lies not in your own striving or any particular technique, but instead it lies in the simple access you have to the Father. Christ shed His blood for us on the cross to obtain that access, so it's safe to say He wants you to use it :) There's a parable Jesus tells in Luke 18 about a judge who "did not fear God and did not respect man." There was a widow who continually came to him, asking the same request. For awhile he didn't want to, but eventually he came to grant her request (simply because she bothered him). Jesus went on to say, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly." There is no such thing as bothering the Lord with our requests. He is good to refine our hearts as we pray, helping us to see things the way He does. He wants us to be persistent in coming to Him with our requests. 

One of the best ways to fight comparison is to pray for one another. Praise God when good things happen for others. Confess your sins to one another and you'll find healing (James 5:16). Petition on behalf of your sister. There is much joy to be found in doing life together.

So, yes. Let's be pen pals. Just like the old-fashioned kind, we don't have to know each other. We'll be getting to grow each of our hearts and minds by seeing another person's perspective and encouraging one another towards truth. Plus, pretty letters in your mailbox is way better than bills ;) If you'd like to participate in this project, just shoot me an email with your address and I'll begin pairing us up. Simple and sweet... just like a handwritten letter. Love y'all.

Intro quote via this article on the allure of pen pals.