Our church, and its movement / denomination, is pretty passionate about this thing that first left me feeling skin-crawling, sweat- dripping uncomfortable. But now it’s radically upheaving my pride and comfort level and trust and changing everything.

Praying WITH people—the hands-on kind of prayer. The “can I pray for you right now?” Not in my car on the way home (and then I will probably forget about it because I will be distracted by the 100 other things on my mind), but the “hey, can I put my hand on your shoulder and pray RIGHT NOW?”…in the middle of this conversation, in the bustling coffee shop or busy church lobby.

Prayer that takes time for listening to the Spirit {insert uncomfortably long pause}, prayer that is trusting and expectant for Heaven to come crashing down in the form of healing or encouragement or prophesy. Prayer that is more of a conversation than a memorized template thrown up, uncertain if anyone is actually going to answer.

This is a scary and vulnerable thing, but it has become a beautiful and vibrant piece of my relationship with others and Jesus.

At times when I don’t feel like putting myself in these situations I ask “isn’t praying on our own enough? Or asking others to pray for us, on their own time, just the same??”

But here’s a little story from a few weeks ago, continuing to convince me that no, it’s not the same. it’s not enough.

Two Sundays ago we had a wonderful sermon on forgiveness. By the end we were asked to sit and ask God to reveal anyone in our lives we needed to forgive or ask for forgiveness for our own bitterness.

I couldn’t really think of anyone.

A few hours later I had the opportunity to be prayed for by three friends. I didn’t think I had a “big” need so I just shared a few seemingly small things. After a time of praying and asking God and listening, the Holy Spirit uncovered a deep bitterness I had been holding on to for a few years—causing some anxiety and frustration and creating unnecessary pressure.

On my own, I wasn’t aware of the forgiveness that needed to take place. But when praying with others who were interceding and listening for me, God revealed the core of something that had been stewing in me for far too long.

Sitting there, covered by the hands of women who love me, I was able to ask for forgiveness (goodbye pride!) and release this ugly bitterness. When we finished praying I felt lighter and even experienced some physical healing that was connected to the bitterness I had been gripping for years…bitterness I had convinced myself was normal and ok. I was so used to it that I didn’t even see it anymore! Yikes!

Friends, we need each other. We were not created to go this alone—and if we do we will continue to miss the depth and beauty of the relational life God has for us. We will miss the joy of healing and wisdom that God can provide through the people around us.

I’m not saying it’s easy… it’s time consuming and space invading and at times messy. But I promise you, if you make praying WITH other believers a part of your life, you won’t regret it.

My challenge for this week: do one of these two things: 1) Ask a friend to pray for you. In person. Together. Or ask a friend if you can pray for them. In person. I would love to hear testimonies of how this goes! Feel free to share below or PM me! OR if this is already a part of your life, would you share a testimony of how this has impacted your life? Let’s encourage one another to step out into this wonderful practice!