After a word of knowledge received by my wife Carolyn concerning a woman who was heavily oppressed mentally and physically, the Holy Spirit said, "It takes the faith of a corporate body to lift up such ones who are heavily oppressed. Even the angels participate in aiding such a one for it is the source of great power."
"Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Lk. 15:10).
I know this verse applies to a sinner who comes to repentance, but the principle speaks volumes to us concerning the importance of the one, and the faith and agreement of the local body to aid the suffering one, or even unbelievers who may be in our midst.
"But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" (1 Cor. 14:24-26).
The local body needs to have a revelation of how heaven moves for the one needing repentance or is suffering in some way.
When a church comes into agreement for any member of the body who is sick, oppressed, or going through a severe trial it becomes a great source of power for them.
OTHER EXAMPLES OF CORPORATE FAITH AND POWER
After this word of knowledge my wife was remembering when a man with a mask appeared through a window outside of the place where she worked at as a single young woman many years ago. This frightened her and fear gripped her. She went to the local assembly and asked for prayer and one of the pastors led the congregation in proclaiming the protection of Psalm 91 over her. It created such a force in the realm of the Spirit for Carolyn that she was able to go back to work without any fear.
I also was remembering when we had returned from some meetings in one city where corporate prayer was made on behalf of the pastor's wife. Her life appeared to be in disarray. Her business and health seemed to be failing, and fear and discouragement were plaguing her. Corporate prayer and power were released for her in the assembly. Love and encouragement were given. Soon God began to move on her behalf and manifested answers to her needs. Corporate prayer and agreement brings the manifestation of God’s power in a way nothing else does. Notice again the last part of the aforementioned Spirit-inspired utterance: “Even the angels participate in aiding such a one for it is the source of great power.”
RESULTS OF CORPORATE PRAYING
When Peter was thrust into prison by Herod the church gathered to pray constantly.
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church (Acts 12:5).
What were the results of this corporate praying? The power of God was released and an angel was sent to deliver Peter from prison (vs. 6-11). When he realized he had gained his freedom he went to the house of Mary.
"So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying" (Acts 12:12).
The Church has got to learn to assemble in faith and in the power of the Spirit. In too many of our corporate church meetings we allow everyone to pray according to the dictates of their flesh or souls instead of learning to channel the power of prayer through united agreement. When everyone just prays whatever is in their minds and souls, instead of being led by the Spirit and/or praying according to the Word of God, it diffuses the power of God and the forthcoming results we desire to see.
We are not seeing a greater manifestation of the power of God in the Church today for basically three reasons. First of all, many things we pray about are unnecessary because they are either unscriptural or the Word of God already gives us the answer on it. Secondly, the Word instructs us to pray for many different things and contains much wisdom and instruction in how we should direct our praying. And thirdly, we spend too much of our time praying with our own mental understanding instead of “in the Spirit”, which means to pray with God’s understanding and the help of the Spirit, especially in other tongues.
For example, Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray with all kinds of prayer in the Spirit.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…”
“Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty” (AMPC).
THE BOY WITH EPILEPSY
I heard one old timer tell the story of an epileptic boy for whom the church fasted and prayed for two days. When they came together in the corporate assembly the power of God was manifest and the boy was completely delivered. Another key factor here is that the church was serious about that boy’s deliverance as indicated by their concerted corporate effort to give themselves to fasting and prayer beforehand. We see this repeatedly in the Early Church and ministry of the apostles.
God often spotlights an individual so the church can come into faith and agreement for their needs. Much more power is released where there is a spirit of unity and agreement. Most believers in the church today are not familiar with this kind of corporate power.
It is the day where we must discern and judge these things spiritually. There are several examples of this in the Scriptures. Even when there is practice of sin in a known member of the local body the church has tremendous power and authority to deal with that one as a final measure to root out the leaven in their midst (1 Cor. 5).
"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (vs. 4-5).
PETER AND JOHN THREATENED
Here is yet another marvelous scripture containing prayer on behalf of Peter and John who were severely threatened for preaching and healing in the Name of Jesus:
"Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29-31).
Corporate prayer released the power of God and filled them all with the Holy Spirit and shook the place where they assembled. This prayer had to do with preaching the gospel with boldness and power. Unless the spreading of the gospel and the advancement of the kingdom of God becomes the church's primary motive, we will be limited in our prayers. Often we ask amiss to consume it on our own lusts (James 4:3). Power is granted to those who are seeking first the kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33). The purpose of the anointing is to destroy yokes (Is. 10:27).
UNITED PRAYER GIVES BIRTH TO CORPORATE POWER AND REVELATION
United prayer not only gives birth to corporate power, but also to revelation and instruction/direction from the Lord. For example, in Acts 13:1-3, five ministers were ministering to the Lord and fasting when the Holy Ghost spoke direction that changed the landscape of the early Church.
"Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, 'Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away."
We've got to get into the classroom of the Holy Spirit and learn these things. Too many leaders and churches are following the production of the purveyors of the self-help, motivational, you-can-have-it-all, success in life, grow-your-church seminar founded on the mere wisdom of man which God has not chosen, instead of the power of God. This has caused a great glorying in the flesh that God resists (1 Cor. 1:26-29). Let us remember that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (v. 25).
Many of the things released in corporate meetings will be instructions and directions of the will of God for the local assembly. Often they will come from ministry gifts who move in the Spirit and will speak the wisdom of God into that body. This operation has manifested in our own lives and ministry of late in nearly every place and church we've gone to. We will pray forth mysteries and ask God to reveal His will to a people He sends us to.