They Prayed And Obtained Answers

Acts 12:5 (KJV) 5 "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."

 

 

Question

What Is United Prayer?

Answer

Introduction

Two Meanings For "United Prayer"

United prayer refers to (1) a group of people unitedly praying in a focused manner for an extended length of time, for a specific objective—perhaps for the conversion of a specific person or group of people in the church; and (2) a group of people offering short prayers on a specific theme as prompted by one of the group, then going on to pray short prayers on another theme, then another, etc.

The Second Meaning Of United Prayer

You can learn more about the second variety of United Prayer at the United Prayer As A Method Of Praying section. Anything from the Bible or Ellen White will have quotations marks and citations.

What follows are instructions on gathering together to pray for the advancement of God's Kingdom and other needs, without the prayers being prompted by a facilitator—Dan

United Prayer for the Same Objective.

Regarding the first form of "United Prayer," Ellen White speaks of praying in unity with others regarding a specific objective. She bases her thoughts on Matt. 18:19. 

Bible Answer

Matthew 18:19 (NKJV) “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven."

Inspired Answer

“Our Saviour follows His lessons of instruction with a promise that if two or three should be united in asking anything of God it should be given them. Christ here shows that there must be union with others, even in our desires for a given object. Great importance is attached to the united prayer, the union of purpose. God hears the prayers of individuals, but on this occasion Jesus was giving especial and important lessons that were to have a special bearing upon His newly organized church on the earth. There must be an agreement in the things which they desire and for which they pray. It was not merely the thoughts and exercises of one mind, liable to deception; but the petition was to be the earnest desire of several minds centered on the same point.”{ CCh 242.1}

"This is the ground of our difficulties; this is the reason for the pressure for means. The people must be called to reflection. There must be a spiritual awakening. They must have a personal interest, a burden of soul, to watch and pray for the success of the work. Let every one who gives of his means also send up his prayers daily that it may bring souls to the foot of the cross. In every church there should be stated seasons for united prayer for the advancement of this work. Let all be united, having a specific object for their faith and entreaties. Brethren, move high heaven with your prayers for God to work with the efforts of His servants." {1NL 30.2} 

"The faith we have in the promises of God is feeble in comparison to what it should be. But the encouragement is given that if two or three shall agree, uniting together to ask the Lord in prayer for any one thing, He will give it us. These occasions of united prayer to the Lord, making our requests known unto Him, are not made as frequently as they should be. Seeking the Lord with the heart, represented as asking, seeking, knocking, is profitable. These are terms expressive of urgent need for immediate help from the source of all grace and power." {Lt45-1897.15}

The Results of United Prayer

United Prayer Brought Answers

"As a church, we have received great light. This light the Lord has entrusted to us for the benefit and blessing of the world. To us has been given the ministry of reconciliation. With power from on high we are to beseech men to be reconciled to God. We are encouraged to pray for success, with the divine assurance that our prayers will be heard and answered. “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” “Ask of Me, and I will answer your requests.” {Lt32-1903.15} The promise is made on condition that the united prayers of the church are offered, and in answer to these prayers there may be expected a power greater than that which comes in answer to private prayer. The power given will be proportionate to the unity of the members and their love for God and for one another." {Lt32-1903.16}

United Prayer Brought the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

"It took courage to bear this straight testimony. This courage and boldness in speaking the truth had come in answer to the united prayer of the disciples, while they had been together in the upper chamber." {1SAT 392.5}

"The disciples prayed that greater strength might be imparted to them in the work of the ministry; for they saw that they would meet the same determined opposition that Christ had encountered when upon the earth. While their united prayers were ascending in faith to heaven, the answer came. The place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were endowed anew with the Holy Spirit. Their hearts filled with courage, they again went forth to proclaim the word of God in Jerusalem. “With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,” and God marvelously blessed their efforts." { AA 67.4}

United Prayer Brought Healing Power

"I felt in my soul it would be a great privilege for me to call together a few of the old tried servants of God and engage in united prayer for the help and strength I so much needed. I followed out the earnest wish of my heart. All present, ministering brethren united in prayer. The Lord indited those prayers. We were so glad Brother Butler was present to engage with us in prayer. I realized it was a most precious season, and I felt that Christ was present. A sweet fragrance was sensibly realized by me, and I am sure those present must have felt the deep influence of the Holy Spirit. I felt that the canopy of God was over me. I could say fully, Whether I live or die it is well, it is well, with my soul. My life is hid with Christ in God." {Ms220-1902.3}

United Prayer Brings the Holy Spirit

"Could there be a convocation of all the churches on earth, the object of their united cry should be for the Holy Spirit. When we have that, Christ our sufficiency is ever present. We shall have every want supplied. We shall have the mind of Christ. While you yearn over the whole human race, you will have One by your side who hath said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Have you not then a helper? One who died for the recovery of the world? Have you not a sufficiency? Is not He your counselor? and is He not devising fresh methods for the saving of the souls for whom He died? While we are His instruments to seek and save the lost, we must permit the work of saving to rest on our Saviour. While in your prayers you present the great want of souls before the world’s Redeemer, commit both yourself and them to Him as His own purchased possession. Your only hope for yourself and for them is in Jesus. He bears your name upon His breast. Your prayers may rise with an importunity that will not accept denial; that is faith." {Ms8-1892}

United Prayer Brings Unity

"It is essential that the teachers harmonize in the inculcation of ideas. They should manifest the love of Christ. They should pray and converse together upon the lessons given in the Word. Those who will with the whole heart study the truth together, and unite in prayer together, will together receive the blessing. Where there are two or three agreed as touching any one thing, the Lord has promised if they ask in faith it shall be granted them. And the more and better the understanding of the Scriptures, the more unity and love will exist. The truth will bind heart to heart. A different atmosphere must come into the hearts of teachers. There should be no dissension in our school; for where there is unity there is courage, and strength, and victory." {Ms54-1898.13}

Further Inspired Instruction

Unity Among Group Members is Needed

"Our Saviour has said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them.” Matthew 18:19. Their prayers will be heard. Nothing can grieve the Spirit of God more than variance among those who are engaged as laborers in His vineyard because the same spirit they entertain is diffused among the churches. Such seed, once sown, is difficult to eradicate. It required time and labor and distress of soul to adjust things and bring in a state of harmony and peace. All heaven is laboring for the unity of the church, and the professed followers of Christ are working at cross purposes with God, because they will not heed His instruction but will bring in dissension." {Ms26-1889.12}

Unity Brings Wonderful Results

Jesus promised a special blessing on united prayer. After his death, the disciples often prayed together in the place where they assembled for worship; they also resorted to the temple at the hour of prayer. Paul exhorted the Ephesians to pray “always with all prayer.” He who loves to pray alone, as did Daniel, may be assured that in public prayer his motive is not to be heard of men. {ST August 14, 1884, par. 11} Oh that we could impress on the minds of all the great willingness of God to help and strengthen every one who looks to him in trusting prayer. The oil and wine of consolation will be given to those who seek for it; the importunate soul will know him as the One who hears and answers prayer, the One who “comforteth those that are cast down.” He is a God over all the earth, exercising over the whole human family an unwearied and solicitous watchcare which nothing can escape. Every moment he grants audience to those who lay their wants and desires before him; and every moment he is ministering to the necessities of thousands who live upon his bounties, yet yield him no tribute of grateful praise, give no token that they realize their dependence upon him. {ST August 14, 1884, par. 12} After we have offered our petitions, we are to answer them ourselves as far as possible, and not wait for God to do for us what we can do for ourselves. The help of God is held in reserve for all who demand it. Divine help is to be combined with human effort, aspiration, and energy. But we cannot reach the battlements of Heaven without climbing for ourselves. We cannot be borne up by the prayers of others when we ourselves neglect to pray, for God has made no such provision for us. Not even divine power can lift one soul to Heaven that is unwilling to put forth efforts in his own behalf. The unlovely traits in our characters are not removed, and replaced by traits that are pure and lovely, without some effort on our part. {ST August 14, 1884, par. 13}

We Should Come Together To Pray

"And let those who love the Lord and His truth unite by twos and threes to seek places of retirement and pray for God’s blessing upon the minister who can hardly find time to pray because he is constantly engaged attending to so many requests, sitting in councils, answering inquiries, giving advice, writing important letters. Let the fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous ascend to God, that the word spoken may be a message of truth to reach the hearts of the hearers, and that souls may thereby be won to Christ."—The Review and Herald, July 24, 1883. { PaM 49.4}e

"In every church there should be stated seasons for united prayer for the advancement of this work. Let all be united, having a specific object for their faith and entreaties. Brethren, move high heaven with your prayers for God to work with the efforts of His servants." { 1NL 30.2 }

"The promise is made on condition that the united prayers of God’s people are offered, and in answer to these prayers there may be expected a power greater than that which comes in answer to private prayer. The power given will be proportionate to the unity of the members and their love for God and for one another." { CentralAdvance February 25, 1903, par. 2 }

"A chain of earnest, praying believers should encircle the world. Let all pray in humility. A few neighbors may meet together to pray for the Holy Spirit. Let those who cannot leave home gather in their children, and unite in learning to pray together. They may claim the promise of the Saviour, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” ( Matthew 18:20).... { RC 121.4} 

Further Thoughts

When believers come together to pray a variety of methods may be followed. As long as they are sincere and done in a manner that honors God, their requests will be heard if they are for God's glory, according to God's will, and for the good of the situation/people being prayed for. 

Sometimes there will be a primary objective, but not always. Sometimes specific time will be given to pray for a specific objective, then other things will be prayed for as God prompts those attending. The important point is to pray!—Dan

Studying Further About United Prayer

You may be asking how you can find quotes when you study the subject of United Prayer. For the quotes listed in connection with this web page, I use the EGW research resources in which you can do Boolean search and the egwwritings.org site on the internet.

For doing Boolean search I used the string which follows. You can try the same thing by pasting the string in the advanced search section.

Search String

("unity of purpose" OR "given object" OR "union with others" OR "united prayer" OR "union of purpose" OR “united prayers”) (prayer OR prayers OR praying OR pray OR supplicate OR entreat OR entreaties OR beg)

Notice there are two sets of words in parentheses. That means that quotations will be returned that contain any individual word or phrase from the first set, AND any word or phrase from the second set. You can add additional sets and individual words.

Notice that phrases are in quotation marks: "desired phrase"

Phrases and single words can be mixed. 

Further Questions

Write me if you have further questions.—Dan

 

United Prayer Second Type:

Unitedly Following A Particular Sequence When Praying

Introduction

United prayer also refers to what has become a very popular and meaningful way of praying together in groups. You can learn more about this form of United Prayer at the United Prayer As A Method Of Praying section.

 

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