What is a prayer chain?

A prayer chain is when groups of people or church members pass on prayer requests from one person to another. The symbolic language of a chain shows the unbroken unity of the those praying for the request and the strength of many believers agreeing in prayer before God (1 Peter 3:8; Matthew 6:9; John 17:20–26).

This phrase was used at its height in passing requests via phone before the Internet or instant messaging. A church or group would establish the prayer chain beforehand so that each person knew the two or three people they were to call, who each had two or three people to call and so on, until the whole list was informed of the request and could pray as one. This was the most efficient way to get a large number of people praying at one time.

God never promises how He will answer prayers, but He does promise to hear us (1 John 5:14). He also tells us that the prayer of a righteous person in community is powerful (James 5:16). Righteous does not mean that we must be sinless in order to pray, but it does mean that we must be right before God in confession, claiming the righteousness we have through Christ in faith (Ephesians 1:3–14; 1 John 1:9). Our adoption through Christ as children of God is inextricably linked with the repeated exhortation to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to pray regularly and about everything (Philippians 4:6–7; Colossians 4:2).

Prayer chains, no matter if by phone, text, or online group messaging, are a powerful tool to facilitate intercession for our brothers and sisters in Christ, which God most certainly wants for His church (James 5:13–18; Ephesians 6:18). Prayer is our communication tool with God, and though He knows all and sees all, He still wants us to bring all concerns, praises, and questions to Him through prayer. He even promises to help is in our prayers through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26–27). Those praying need not necessarily feel specifically "gifted" in prayer in order to be a part of a prayer chain or group. It is the willing hearts of those praying that are most important.

Today, we have even more means of connecting the church of God through technology in an even bigger chain of prayers that are like incense before our Father in Heaven (Revelation 5:8). We can utilize any communication method available to share requests of concern or praise with as many Christians as possible. Imagine the impact of millions of voices lifted to God as one to intercede on behalf of a person or issue.

Remember, though, Elijah was one man "with a nature like ours" who prayed for an entire nation, resulting in drought and relief of that drought (1 Kings 18:41–45; James 5:17–18). Prayer chains are powerful, but so are the prayers of one person sent by God to intercede. The power of prayer is ultimately the God to whom we pray.

Related Truth:

What is the importance of praying for others?

Is group prayer important?

What does the Bible say about corporate prayer?

How are we supposed to pray?

What is the importance of daily prayer in the life of a Christian?

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