“Why can’t I just pray by myself at home?“
Reason #1 – Because big corporate requests require corporate prayers.
Some big issues will only be handled if there are many praying. This happened when the church met to hear the report of Peter and John after their release from arrest, and to pray.
Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:29-31)
You will notice that as they prayed several things happened: the place where they gathered was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. It seems probable that there are prayers that are answered specifically because the church prayed it together.
Another example . . .
When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. (Acts 12:12)
As the church prayed together one night in Mary’s home, God responded by sending an angel to set Peter free from prison. In fact when Peter arrived at the house, they were busy praying for his release even then. It is no accident that Luke, who frequently reveals the relationship between prayer and God’s movements, here links Peter’s escape from prison with the church’s praying. (It’s ironic and humorous that in this case the church wouldn’t stop their praying to answer Peter’s knock!)
Reason #2 –Because you receive God’s grace through others.
We can’t get all of God’s grace for us directly from Him ourselves. Some of it we have to receive through other members of the body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!”And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” (1 Corinthians 12:21)
Show me a Christian living apart from the church & I’ll show you a defeated Christian! You CANNOT receive all the grace you need to walk with God and fulfill His desires for you apart from His Body.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)
Which is why the Scriptures warn us:
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
That’s why James says that those who are sick are to ask others to come and pray for them (James 5:15-17)
And that’s why Scripture reveals the laying on of hands. We cannot get all answers to our prayers alone – God simply won’t have it.
In the Old Testament we read the story of Manoah whose wife was childless (Judges 13). One day the angel of the Lord spoke to Manoah’s wife, telling her that she would have a son who would deliver Israel from the Philistines
She informed her husband who then went to prayer, asking the angel to return and advise them how to raise such a son. In answer to Manoah’s prayer the angel returned, but to his wife instead. Some answers you will only receive when done in the context of others.
Reason #3 – Because we desire unity and praying together unifies us.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. When people pray together the Spirit speaks to both and brings unity. (Ephesians 4:3)
For example, as the church was fasting and praying, the Spirit instructed them collectively to set aside Barnabas and Paul for the work He had for them:
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:2-3 )
Further, just the act of praying for one another creates unity between individuals