Have you ever wondered why we want multiple people praying for us whenever we’re going through a trial? For many of us, I think it is because we believe what James says: The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (5:16). We know that God has chosen to work through the prayers of godly people, so we want as many godly people praying for us as possible.
Certainly, commissioning other people to pray is a good thing, but if you’re like me, then this practice can very quickly turn into a me-centered affair instead of a God-centered one – Rally the prayer warriors! I am suffering and I need relief! Time is of the essence! Our trials are real and our suffering is real, but so often we allow our hardships to push God to the place of wish-granter in our prayers when he should still be seen as glorious, sovereign God of the universe.
How, then, can we keep God in his rightful place while acquiring the prayer help of many people. How must we think? Listen to Paul’s request of the Corinthian church after he has told them that he and Timothy are hoping in God for deliverance: You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many (2 Corinthians 1:11).
Did you catch that? Paul wants the Corinthian believers to pray for he and Timothy so that more people will give thanks to God whenever God answers their prayers. Getting other people to pray for you is to give them certain details about your trial and ask them to invest their time and energy in pleading with God on your behalf. When God answers that prayer, whether it’s exactly what was prayed for or a different blessing, then all the people who prayed for you are already primed for giving thanks to God. They labored with you in prayer, and upon seeing the answer to that prayer, they see the fruit of that labor in the merciful, giving hand of God. God, then, receives the praise from not one person (as when you pray alone), but dozens of people.
With this perspective, to ask many people to pray is to ask many people to praise the God who answers.