The Power of Corporate Prayer
By Rita Langeland
I was gazing out from beneath the thatched roof of the prayer hut, as the sound of many voices praying passionately in Swahili filled the early morning air. It had rained during the night, leaving the air and the grass heavy with moisture, and the sky thick with clouds. The atmosphere felt so rich, long awaited rains had come, and much needed prayer was being lifted to heaven at Treasures of Africa Children’s Home in Tanzania.
"Again, I give you an eternal truth: If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer, my heavenly Father will do it for you. For wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them!” Matthew 18:19-20 The Passion Translation
Every geographic region has its spiritual battles, and East Africa is no exception. Nearly every problem in our lives can be traced to some spiritual root. Whether it is rebellion, selfishness, greed or hatred, the sin in people’s lives always affects others and creates the many problems we all must deal with in this world. In the west, the spiritual roots of problems are often cloaked in sophisticated garb and called by other names such as addictions, syndromes, irreconcilable differences or political maneuvering. Yet a spiritual cause is always at the root of each problem in this natural world that we live in.
In Africa, the spiritual causes of problems in people’s lives are often much more obvious. A woman was jealous of her neighbor over some blessing the neighbor had received. She went to a witchdoctor, paid him to pronounce a curse on the neighbor’s child, who in turn became deathly ill. The spiritual root of the problem was jealousy, which drove the neighbor to act in a hateful manner, bringing physical pain and suffering to an innocent child and financial hurt to the neighbor as she desperately sought medical treatment for her child.
Many people in Western cultures don’t believe in witchdoctors, curses, demons or satanic influences. They see such things as the stuff of make-believe and relegate it to the realm of Hollywood movies and video games. But after working in East Africa for 15 years, I can tell you that I am more than convinced of the reality of spiritual darkness and its strategies against mankind. I am even more certain of the necessity for every believer to have a Biblical understanding of how our adversary, the devil, operates in this world and how to use the authority given us in the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul the Apostle wrote to the early church that it was vital that believers not be naïve or remain ignorant of the schemes used by Satan.
It’s my duty to make sure that Satan does not win even a small victory over us,
for we don’t want to be naïve and then fall prey to his schemes.
2 Cor. 2:11 The Voice Translation
Some years ago, we had a strange rash of happenings at the orphanage. No matter how hard we tried we could not figure out what was going on or how to stop it. I organized a prayer meeting in the U.S. and on a Sunday afternoon, we gathered at the Hidden with Christ Ministries office to pray. One man, the husband of one of the HWCM Board members, had a vision of someone inside the orphanage doing witchcraft against the ministry which was behind all the strange goings on. We prayed for that person to be revealed and the spiritual power of it to be broken over Treasures of Africa.
After the meeting, I communicated with the missionaries in Tanzania and instructed them to wait until the children went to school, and then to pray through every room of the orphanage, looking under every bed and piece of furniture for anything unusual. As it turned out, they discovered strange objects that had been placed under several mattresses, including the bed of one of the children that had become unexplainably ill. The Lord also revealed the person who was doing the witchcraft (a new employee) and we were able to remove her from the staff. All the strange happenings and illnesses ceased. There is great power in corporate prayer. I believe God loves when His people join together in seeking Him for answers, and then He delights to reveal the needed wisdom as promised in the book of James.
If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5 NASB
In March, our beloved brother and co-laborer from Kenya, Pastor Geoffrey Kioko, joined me in Tanzania and led two weeks of morning prayer with the staff at Treasures of Africa. Besides praying for the children, staff and missionaries at TOA, focused prayer was lifted up for every donor, Board member and intercessor that invests time and money into the work of the orphanage. They also prayed for all the local community members in Moshi that we interact with from the government Welfare officials to the shopkeepers from whom we buy food and supplies. It was a precious time of intense prayer that was undoubtedly recorded in heaven. It brought a renewed unity among the staff and sharpened our focus on the mission God has given us at Treasures of Africa.
Prayer is at the heart of this ministry and we would be nowhere without it. The architectural plans that were drawn for the new Treasures of Africa Children’s Leadership Village feature a large a “Prayer Hut” at the center of the campus. There is a sidewalk that passes through the middle of the Prayer Hut to symbolize that EVERYTHING and EVERYONE passes through prayer before entering the heart of the Children’s Village. We believe deeply in the power of corporate prayer – so please join us in continuing to pray for the work of Hidden with Christ Ministries!
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Acts 2:1 NKJV