Whether you're looking at news websites online or you are glued to the television and news stations, heavy-hearted topics are rampant. In these days of on-going negative news coverage and a constant barrage of depressing topics flooding the airwaves, it's no wonder Americans are seeking ways to lift their spirits. There are plenty of diversions available for those looking, and while some participate in an exercise, baking, or reading, still others seek alternate ways to improve their states of mind.
55% of Americans report that they pray every day. And while this is a positive step in helping to lift one's spirits, it's often helpful to participate in local prayer meetings as well. Most local churches offer various Bible study groups and prayer groups at their location, while still, other people host their own gatherings. You may be thinking that you pray by yourself and that's good enough, but in truth, there's power in numbers. Below, you will find five valid reasons why it could be in your best interest to find a local prayer group to join and improve your outlook on life as well.
GREAT IDEAS COME FROM PRAYER IN GROUPS
Did you know that the entire idea of the church as a whole was conceived in local prayer meetings? According to Acts 1:14, Jesus' disciples met together in the upper room and prayed together resulting in the New Testament church. Paul agreed with this sentiment and encouraged the steadfast prayer of the Romans in Hebrews. While your church prayer group may not found a new religion, it is possible to listen to the Lord and find answers to problems, new ways of looking at situations and solutions to local issues.
PRAISE GOD TOGETHER
Most people have heard of the old adage, the power of prayer, however, this power is multiplied when done in a group. When Christians gather together, prayers of praise, thanks, worship, and joy are combined, unifying those who are in attendance praying. This unique bond created by praying together forms a fellowship that is not found just anywhere. Keep in mind, a local prayer group could be one found at a church such as Radiant Church and led by a church leader or it can simply be held at someone's home and held by any layperson. It doesn't matter where it's held, but the power and positivity of its participants.
Experts unanimously agree that mingling with like-minded individuals is a sure-fire way to improve your outlook on life. Indeed, if you add singing to the mix, a person's endorphins are bound to increase, raising your mood exponentially. Attending a local prayer group is also a wonderful way to make friends, giving you positive interaction during an otherwise troubled time. Another good idea is to offer to host a prayer study at your own home, inviting others into your space. It gives you a reason to clean up the house (always a good mood booster) and it allows you to enjoy the interaction with others without leaving home. This is an especially good option for those who are homebound or disabled.
PROMOTES INDIVIDUAL PRAYER
The power of multiple people praying for a single cause is powerful, but perhaps one of the strongest benefits to evolve from group prayer meetings is the motivation to improve one's own prayer life. Religious leaders explain that group prayer initiates the heart with a desire and zeal for more effective and persistent communication with God one-on-one. After having attended a few bible/prayer groups, you're likely to gain a new perspective on problems in the world and in one's local environment. You may find your own problems pale in comparison to others around you and this, in turn, makes you feel a little bit better.
When one prays alone, they often become stuck in a routine. It's easy to simply ask God for this and that, cutting it short when you can't think of anything else to say or do. And like Jesus' own disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, we're likely to fall asleep during our prayer routines, especially when we delay our talk with God until bedtime. But with the presence of others and skilled leaders to promote effective prayer, Christians find new ways to communicate with God, the praise they may have never have thought of on their own. Further, they're able to find other topics to discuss with God much as they would a trusted friend. You may also feel better when prayer leads to positive action. Often times, prayer groups act together locally to bring about help to those in need. This altruistic help does wonder to improve a person's outlook.
If you watch too much television or listen to the news a bit more than necessary, it's easy to get bogged down in the mood of the world. Perhaps you've noticed it yourself or others may have pointed out to you that you seem a bit depressed or down. Regardless of the reason, joining up with your local church for a prayer group could be the answer to your unasked prayers. New friends and a change of scenery can do wonders for your state of mind and your personal prayer life. What's not to like? So, the question becomes how do you get started in a prayer group? If you're not active in a current church, look online for local churches. Many have their prayer groups listed on their website while others may require your email in any questions. Either way, it's a painless step to get active.
The Bible verse Matthew 18:19-20 states, "I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." This verse is often used to suggest the power associated with prayer groups, but perhaps the biggest gain anyone can hope for is the inclusion of Jesus in our lives in a very real way.