Could it be that it works like a laser?
Could it be that it works like a laser? I had the opportunity once to interview John Polkinghorne, the great Anglican physicist and clergyman. Knowing that prayer was an active part of his daily life, I asked him about the necessity of group or collective prayer. Why would we need to band together to pray for someone or something, some event or some need, when (#1) God already knows the need and (#2) God surely doesn’t need to hear multiple reminders from a group in order to respond to that particular (earnest or urgent) need? Perhaps the answer lies in the reality of a laser beam, the physicist responded.
Since that interview I’ve turned his response over and over again in my mind. Maybe he’s right? Could it be that prayer works like a laser? I’m certainly no scientist, but the meager grasp I have of how lasers work tells me that the laser beam’s penetrating, burning effectiveness is the result of the banding together of minute streams or photons of light. Yes, one tiny stream is able to penetrate the darkness, as light does. But the secret of the laser’s power is in the banding together of multiple strands of light, creating a burning shaft of energy that can penetrate the thickest obstacle. And that, John Polkinghorne responded, is why collective group praying is so effectual. Rather than random prayers bouncing every which way, group prayer harnesses and focuses the collective prayers into a mighty single beam of divine laser power.
The Book of Acts was written by a physician, not a physicist, and yet could it be that the secret of the laser is the reason why corporate prayer is so frequently documented in the early church’s history? No sooner does Jesus ascend to heaven in Acts 1 then the disciples gather in the upper room for a prayer meeting. Ten days of prayer meeting follow—and suddenly all of heaven explodes in Pentecost’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Weeks later after the apostles’ incarceration by the authorities, the church gathers for an earnest prayer meeting again in Acts 4. Read the book for yourself—there are prayer meetings all the way through! Early Christians knew the harnessed power of collective, banded laser prayers!
Isn’t it “primetime” we tapped into that same collective power? Want to live life on the laser edge of the Spirit? Come and join me this new season once a week in an upper room of collective, focused praying. Let’s call it House of Prayer. And let’s meet here at the church on Wednesday evenings at 7—an Acts community of young and old, seeking a new Pentecost to reach a new generation for Christ! In fact, wherever on earth you’re reading this blog, why don’t you join us by gathering a group in your community—and let’s create a laser band of united prayer just like Acts. “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 4:31).