The Benefits of Praying with a Friend
Praying for a friend meets an obligation; praying with a friend meets a bundle of needs.
Solitary prayer also has its benefits, and there is no judgment for those who prefer not to share their prayers. Still, those who share will experience an energizing, supportive fellowship with benefits that inspire gratitude.
Praying with a friend may happen in situations like the following:
- In a general prayer session, the leader requests that participants pray in groups of two; two friends find each other.
- One friend needs an urgent solution for a pending problem and calls on a friend to join in prayer. They may pray just once, or they may decide to meet for prayer until the problem is solved.
- Two people who interact with each other feel a mutual kinship. They begin to trust each other by sharing their personal issues. They both believe in the power of prayer, and they intentionally become prayer partners. They decide to pray together regularly—daily, weekly or whatever schedule they set.
Prayer can be effective in all three of the scenarios above, but this article is primarily concerned with the third one, which is ideal for individuals looking for support in their pursuit of godly living.
Six Important Benefits for Friends who Pray Together Regularly
Love each other with genuine affection, and . . . keep on praying. - Romans 12: 10-12 (NLT)
Praying with a friend—really praying as opposed to reciting a prayer—creates a three-way connectedness. While one exposes his innermost feelings to God, the other listens in. Simultaneously, they become vulnerable in their relationship with God and with each other. (Good reason for spouses to pray together).
That vulnerability is not something to be afraid of; it is something to be embraced between real friends. It is supported by confidentiality—the assurance that whatever they learn about each other will remain private between them.
Some people turn to psychologists only because they have no friends with whom to share their personal struggles. Friends who meet and talk to God on each other’s behalf have a spiritual, social and emotional advantage.
If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. Matthew 18: 19 (NLT)
Anything has to be interpreted within godly confines: “The thing asked must be reasonable, good in itself, expedient for the petitioner” and “the desire will be granted in some form, though, perhaps, not in the way or at the time expected.”*
The prayer request is more likely to be appropriate when two people consult, than if made by one lonely person in a state of grief or anxiety. The levelheadedness of one compensates for the shortsightedness of the other. Also in expectation of God’s answer, the impatience of one is comforted by the patience of another.
Praying with a friend provides the kind of cooperation and unity which affects both the wholesomeness of the request and the acceptance of the answer.
Pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5: 16 (NLT)
Compassion for others distracts one from self-pity. It is difficult to think of a scenario better than praying with a friend which encourages an individual to forget about himself. While he is focusing on someone else’s need, he does not interfere with God’s intervention in his own.
This principle proved true in Job’s situation:
When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. Job 42:10 (NLT)
It is not unusual for prayer partners to focus on each other’s personal, family, and ministry needs or whatever other needs they may have. They develop genuine compassion for each other and pray with complete selflessness.
So encourage each other and build each other up . . . 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 (NLT)
The strongest Christian has a weak spot, and is capable of experiencing a weak moment. Some become discouraged when their misdeeds remind them that they are not yet perfect. They may lose confidence in themselves, and be tempted to lose confidence in God.
At such times, they need the benefits of godly counsel, empathy and supportive prayer from a friend. Sure, they can request prayer on the prayer line, but nothing builds confidence like the actual touch of a friend holding the hand or throwing an arm around a discouraged soul.
These days, when there are so many distractions and so many opportunities for doubt, praying with a friend is one sure way to build faith.
As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. 1 Samuel 12: 23 (NIV)
This verse is probably the most famous line from Samuel’s farewell speech to the Israelites. Despite the fact that they rejected his prophet’s leadership in preference for the leadership of a king, Samuel committed to intercessory prayer on their behalf. This, he seemed to suggest, was a duty which, if he neglected, would be a sin against God.
It is safe to accept this principle as valid for all believers. Intercessory prayer is a duty.
How many times have people requested prayer and the request is forgotten? Praying with a friend makes it difficult to forget about intercession on each other’s behalf as well intercession for other people. Because the prayer partners meet regularly and share prayer requests, they have the opportunity to be true to their prayer commitments.
Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3 (NIV)
Have you ever had some good news burning in your chest, without the opportunity to share?
It lifts the spirits to hear songs of deliverance and testimonies of faith in the large assembly, but not every excited soul gets an opportunity to share her answer to prayer. Truth is, not everyone wants to testify before the crowd.
After the public celebration, friends who pray together get the opportunity to meet, share screams of victory and tears of joy. The benefits of praying with a friend include personal celebrations where they glorify God and “exalt his name together."
Furthermore, among friends, the celebration can last longer, and be repeated as often as they desire. In fact, there is always something to celebrate among friends who pray together. They are always grateful for the benefits of wholesome, supportive friendship.
* Bible Hub: The Pulpit Commentary, Matthew 18: 19 (© 2004-2014 by Biblos.com)
© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers
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