We read the following appeal from Paul in a letter he wrote, now called Romans. In Romans 15:30 (ESV), Paul says, “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,”
Paul needed brothers and sisters in the faith to pray for him. There is now, and always has been, a critical place in local fellowships for “prayer chains.” Before there were Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email, there were telephones and “over the fences.”
Your child has a spider bite, call the prayer chain. Your spouse just lost their job. Call the prayer chain. A family in town has lost their house in a fire. You guessed it. My wife and I have been on both ends of this for decades. We have been members of prayer chains and, many times, we have called prayer chains. A prayer chain is part of the life of a local community of believers.
I will give you two personal testimonies about the efficacy of communal prayer.
1. Several years after our first child was born, we began trying for a second child. It seemed that perhaps a second child wasn’t in our future. At that time, the only option was adoption, and we didn’t have the income to do that. So, one day, when my wife was at church, she shared our problem with the ladies that were there. They all gathered around her, and fervently prayed. Our daughter is now grown and has given us several grandkids. God doesn’t always move this way, but we should agree together in prayer because God expects us to, and He deeply loves us.
2. The prayer team at our local church felt called to do a 24 prayer vigil. All of the prayer team and many others joined in. My wife and I volunteered for the midnight shift. She knelt at a pew in the back of the church, and I chose to kneel at the front of our church. We prayed through the list that we’d been given and proceeded to pray for others that we knew needed God’s hand in their lives. At some point during each of our prayer times, my wife felt a deep conviction from God, and I also had a similar experience. When we “compared notes,” God and separately spoken to us that His intent was for us to move across the country, to the west coast; at that time we lived on the east coast. We did as God directed and God richly blessed that time in our lives.
Paul has given us a clear example of the need for a group of Christians that believe God answers prayer and are ready, willing, and able to passionately agree in prayer for the needs of people, institutions, and nations.
Being a member of a prayer chain is a ministry that God has used countless times to rescue untold people, local churches, and even nations. If there is a prayer chain in your church, prayerfully consider joining. If one doesn’t exist, maybe you are just the person God wants to use to launch that ministry.