Psalm 20

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. O LORD, save the king! Answer us when we call!

Most people aren’t very good at praying for others, and some aren’t even good at praying for themselves. But if you’ve ever been prayed for at church or in a small group or Bible study, you know how great it feels.

Having a bunch of believers standing around you with their hands on your head or shoulders while they intercede with the Creator of the Universe on your behalf brings a sense of peace and assurance unlike any other. It feels so good because for those few minutes, you, the people praying for you, and God are all of one mind. That’s the way it should be all the time, but sadly, most of us are too pre-occupied with our own problems to wonder about the Lord’s will for us, let alone give much thought to others.

So how does one make that kind of prayer happen? I know people who just wade into a group, round up some folks and ask for prayer. That works pretty well as long as you don’t wind up with someone who doesn’t think you should get what you’re asking for. The whole idea is to be of one mind, so the people praying for you should agree with what you’re asking. Jesus said, “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. (Matt. 18:18-20)

A better way is to form a small prayer group. That way you all get to know one another well enough to pray for each other. Embarrassed about sharing a problem? If your prayer group knows you well enough they’ll be more likely to trust you, and you them. And remember, the Lord knows what you want before you ask, and He’s the only one who matters. You don’t have to let your prayer group become a gossip mill.

Don’t know if what you want is in the Lord’s will for you? Ask your friends to ask the Lord to make His will clear to them and you. Keep in mind, you’re not asking for your group’s opinions. You’re asking them to ask the Lord for His, and again He already knows what you want, so you don’t need to inform him in your prayer.

Do this and you’ll discover that just the act of praying brings the peace you seek, often well in advance of the problem’s resolution. There’s something about a group of believers bringing their concerns to the Lord that energizes all of them; the one needing help and the ones helping. Your mind will be cleared and your creative imagination will be freed to find the best way, the Lord’s way, to your solution.

Listen to the words of the Lord’s brother James. “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective”. (James 5:13-16)