United prayer can be seen beautifully by this wild flower–as each individual pedal forms the whole of the flower.
True prayer must be united prayer. God didn’t design prayer for individual needs and purposes apart from others. We all have individual needs, but God established that believers would pray together in unity—for and with each other and in the will of God.
In John 17:20-23 Jesus prayed that all believers might be one, just as He was one with His Father.
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. NKJV
This oneness is a oneness of mind, Spirit, and purpose; and it includes not only our lives as we live together, but also our prayers as we pray together. Whether we pray individually or in a group, if prayers are true they are united in the Spirit, and with the Father and the Son.
When we pray with this unity (of the trinity), be assured that we are also praying in unity with other believers. Thus we all in effect are praying with one mind, or it could be termed as prayer “in one accord.” These are the words Paul used to describe the New Testament church and their prayers: they “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14).
To get a broader picture of what this unity in prayer looks like we should also look at the life and behavior of those who have prayed in unity, because prayer can never be separated from the life of a person; for when one prays with unity he also lives in loving harmony with others. We see this most clearly in the early church. In Acts 2:42-45 we read,
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Therefore, unity in life and unity in prayer means that we share things together and share the love of Christ together as a loving family. I think it also means that when we pray we will take every opportunity to pray together. When we do, we will find happily that we will agree on things (Matt. 18:19); for the Spirit will unite us together so that we agree on what His will is and therefore what things to pray for and how to pray for them.