I was praying this morning, and started thinking about prayer. I suddenly realized something about prayer that I have not articulated, at least recently: Prayer is not "talking to God" as I have so often put it to myself and others. Actually, it is conversing with Him. Prayer is a conversation, not a speech. That completely changes things, because a speech is all one-way communication, but a conversation is a flow between parties. It is even different than speeches alternating back and forth. There is a continuous give and take in a conversation, and a responsibility to both contribute and listen in order for the conversation to be maintained. This is prayer. This new perspective on prayer was revolutionary enough for me this morning as I sat there eating my oatmeal and trying to commune with God, but there is a little more.
If prayer is a conversation, then corporate prayer is simply a group conversation. If we can converse with God individually, listening and speaking to each other. We can also do so in a group. When I hear the term "corporate prayer," I don't think of a conversation between friends. Instead, the image in my mind is of one person leading by praying aloud, and everyone else agreeing with them in the Spirit. I don't think this is wrong or bad, don't misunderstand. A large group of people cannot effectively converse with one another. But I don't think corporate prayer is limited to this.
What if, in everyday situations when we are gathered together doing ordinary and extraordinary things, we began conversing with God together. I don't mean having good conversations about God with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I mean including God in the conversation as a person. Everyone listening and talking, giving and taking, both from the visible and invisible persons in the room. I am certain that God is already ready, willing, and able to hold up His end of a conversation with us. On our end, it may take a little practice. It may feel uncomfortable, hokey, silly, but I believe the result would be incredible. Not only would each pray-er grow closer to God, but they would also grow closer to one another through conversing together. A body united within itself and united with its Father, King and Creator is a pleasing thing indeed.