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The Prayers of Many People

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Read James 5:13-16

View the Jan-Feb, 2017 Issue

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

- James 5:16 (NIV)

Recently my wife, Joyce, went through a difficult time with serious health issues. We made a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to deal with one specific health concern. However, while the medical staff was preparing to respond, they discovered other serious medical problems. The result was that our stay in Rochester lasted for 25 days, and the real purpose for our going in the first place could not be addressed at that time.

Generally, I do not like waiting for issues to be addressed. However, during our stay in Rochester, I felt a peace that all things were working for our good. (See Rom. 8:28.) I have often wondered whether the number of people praying for a particular concern makes a difference in God’s response to that need. Certainly God hears and responds to the prayer of a single person. But will God be more apt to satisfy that need if hundreds of people are praying? I cannot say that I would have felt more fearful had only one person been praying for us. But I know that my peace came from knowing of the large number of people who were holding us up to God through their prayers.

See a picture of Stanley with his wife, Joyce, here.

The Author

Stanley L. Hayes (Michigan, USA)

Thought for the Day

Today I will add my prayers to those of others.


All-knowing God, we thank you for hearing the prayers of your people. Help us to realize that there is much power in prayer. Amen.

Prayer focusThose experiencing serious health issues


Comment by Joe

Stanley, thank for your devotional and praying your wife is doing well. Most interesting question, 'whether the number of people praying for a particular concern makes a difference in God’s response to that need'. Think answer is yes and no - ?? God loves and cares and listens to each one for our every petition and and answers in the way that He knows is best. Now, having said that, I think group prayer for one specific person's need is powerful. He loves all as a single individual and as a group. Want to hear what some of our schooled ministers have to say, like monte. I rather timidly believe that God will the same in either situation. He does NOT tell us that He hears one of us over the other or over a group, but loves all and wants to help and comfort each of us.

Posted February 21, 2017 at 07:35AM CST
Comment by Joe

These two comments may be the wordiest I have been commenting on UR devotionals. So much of our Bible's verses refer to a individual 'seeking God'. 1Chron 13.12, Ps 27.4, Jer 29.13, Amos 5.6, Proverbs 7.15 and many more. And there is 2 Chronicles 7.14, 'my people who are called by My Name' is plural along with many others. I am standing on God hearing all earnest prayer that acknowledges Him as God, group or one. He is too much of God to be influences by numbers. Comments welcome here.

Posted February 21, 2017 at 07:53AM CST
Comment by Rachel

Stanley, thank you for the devotional. I've often pondered this question. I just do not know if the more people praying for someone makes a difference or not. I certainly feel it is comforting to know others are praying for you though. I had many people praying for my custody situation to be resolved but it was not. My faith has been very shaken, because nothing in my life has ever worked despite my all the prayers I lift up. I'm not sure what direction to take anymore, I feel lost. Anyways, I feel I'm rambiling. God bless this prayer site and all the people that visit it.

Posted February 21, 2017 at 07:37PM CST
Comment by dave of Manassas, VA

Good evening UR family!
Joe: Whether anyone else prays or not, we are individually told to ask, seek, and knock. It's to me like Jesus and Peter after the resurrection, and Peter says, "Lord, what about John?", and Jesus says, basically, "Don't worry about him; follow Me.". I Don't think there is "strength in numbers", for what it's worth.
Headed to SC tomorrow morning for business...driving. Returning Thursday night. Please pray for me.
Rachel: God is still at work. The idea that you are alone is a lie.
, even though it might seem true.
Bless you all today!

Posted February 21, 2017 at 09:40PM CST
Comment by Sarah of Berwyn, IL

Good morning, everyone! Thank you, Stanley, for your devotional this morning. You brought up a question that I have wondered about, and don’t really have an answer - whether having more people praying for someone or something, makes a difference in God’s response to that need. What about a homebound person who is alone, without a large circle of friends or church support? Are his or her prayers to the Lord less effective? Do the people who have more friends, and thus a greater prayer support, more favor with the Lord than someone who might only have one friend to pray for them? That would look like God shows favorites, which His Word says He doesn’t. It’s great to have a lot of people praying for you in a time of need, but some people might not be that fortunate.
KAREN of Jackson, MS - I am praying for you and your friend, that the Lord will give you travel mercies as you journey from Paris to Strasbourg, France, where your granddaughter will be studying for the next several months. I pray that His angels will protect you, and that you will have a wonderful time there, and perhaps in Germany as well. * WENDY of Auburn, AL - I am praising the Lord that you have a new wheelchair, and that it is a size that can easily fit through doorways! I pray that He will continue to watch over you, and that He will bring you healing.
MONTE of Laughlintown, PA - I pray that the Lord brought you and your wife safely to Buffalo to be with your sister-in-law, Nancy. I am continuing to hold Nancy in special prayer as she has had a stroke and brain bleeding, and is in ICU. I pray that the Lord brings her healing. I pray for wisdom for her doctors, and that she will make a full recovery with no lingering side effects. * CAROL of Edmond, OK - I am praying for your husband, Carl, who is having back surgery on his injured sciatic nerve. I pray that the Lord will guide his doctor’s hands, and that the surgery will be successful. I pray that this will relieve the numbness he has been having in his left leg and foot. May the Lord bring him healing and a quick recovery, and that he will be able to do all that he needs to without any pain or discomfort.
JK - I am praising the Lord with you that your friend, Amy’s mother’s cataract surgery went well. I pray that she recovers well, and that her eyesight is greatly improved. I am praying that your back pain and stiffness has improved from overdoing it on Monday, and that you are feeling much better today. I continue to keep your husband in prayer with his arthritis, that the Lord brings him healing and relief from the bad pain he frequently deals with. * DARREN of Ashdown, AR - I am praising the Lord that your friend, Roger Woodall, has been released from the hospital to go home! I pray that the Lord continues His healing of Roger, and that all goes well with his recovery at home. I pray that his immune system builds itself back up, that the Lord keeps him safe and free from any germs and infections. I pray, too, that all goes well with his swallowing, and that his feeding tube will be able to be removed soon.
MERRY of Poteau, OK - I am praising the Lord that your little dog, Charlie, got a good report from his vet on Monday, and that he has no more fluid in his heart and lungs! I pray that the Lord continues to watch over your beloved boy. I continue to keep both you and your husband, Gerald, in my prayers each day, for the Lord’s blessing, strength and ongoing good health. * CHERIE of Inverness, FL - I am praising the Lord that your husband, Ron, is feeling a bit better! I pray that he will not have any more episodes like that anymore, and that if he has anymore kidney stones, they will pass without much pain like that. May the Lord continue to watch over you both, bringing peace, strength and joy for each day.
CATHERINE of North Texas - I am praying for your daughter-in-law, as she is expecting her 3rd child. I pray that all goes well with her pregnancy, and that both she and the baby remain healthy through the next number of months. I pray that your son will be able to find a part-time job for the weekends, and that the Lord will meet all of the family’s needs. * HEIDI of Woodstock, IL - I pray that all went well with your husband, Brian’s bone biopsy yesterday. I pray that he will get back good news, and that the Lord will bring healing to the tumor on his leg bone.
Have a blessed day, everyone!

Posted February 21, 2017 at 09:44PM CST
Comment by Michael of Lindendale, TX

Thank you, Stanley, for your devotional. You raise a very interesting question. I believe that God hears all our prayers, whether individual or corporate. He even knows what we need before we speak it. Even when we lack words the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. However, I think that God delights in us coming together as the Body of Christ. 'When two or three are gathered in my name I am in the midst of them". Also, in the scripture passage from James God tells us to call on the elders of the church to pray for the sick, having anointed him with oil. At the time of James' letter the oil was used for various medicinal purposes. So God is telling us to seek the best medical treatment and pray.
Asking for prayers for Violet and my daughter and SIL. Violet spiked a fever yesterday and they are back at the hospital. So far no growth on the culture so hopefully it is not another line infection but just a viral thing but the Motrin and the Tylenol have not been able to keep the fever down completely. The doctors were going to try this afternoon a different anti fever medication, injectable instead of oral.
Lifting up all the needs of our UR family to the Lord. Blessings.

Posted February 21, 2017 at 10:15PM CST
Comment by coni

I think prayer is an exciting adventure. We are getting to know God as he teaches and shows us through experience or the many examples of prayers in the Bible. I don’t think it matters if it’s one person or a hundred person’s praying...For example. I have had answers to my prayers before I could get them out of my mouth. I still remember, once while praying with my daughter on the telephone that I heard God ask me if I had faith. I told my daughter, what God said and we agreed, and YES, and we got what we were asking for. Hanna prayed to God for a child and 9 months later she had a baby boy who she named Samuel. Father God always hears our prayers even our wordless prayers. Only God can judge our hearts as righteous or unrighteous. Elias prayed earnestly that it would not rain. The windows of heaven withheld its early and latter rains. He prayed again to God that it would rain. And the heavens brought forth its showers.
 I like to believe that the prayer of a righteous mother over her kids avails much.
Coni… AZ

Posted February 22, 2017 at 01:19AM CST
Comment by Karen of Jackson, MS

Good morning UR family from Strasbourg! Thank you Stanley for the devotional I'm in agreement with those that say I don't think it matters. God knows what's in our heart before we voice it. I also don't think it hurts to have a group of people praying for each other. It lets God know that we are trying to do as he ask. When you need anything come to him. My last day in France will be leaving early tomorrow morning. Praying to make the best of it. Sending prayers for traveling mercy. Prayers for those needs spoken and unspoken. Be Blessed!

Posted February 22, 2017 at 01:27AM CST
Comment by Julie of India

Good Morning Upper Room Family. Thank you Stanley for your devotional today.
you raised a good question that praying in group for particular request would make difference in god's answer or not. well i am so agree with Joe'a comment that god answer would be the same whether you pray in group or individually. god is not partial to anyone.
WENDY of Auburn, AL i am glad that now you are having new wheelchair. praying for quick healing.
MONTE of Laughlintown, PA i am praying Nancy i pray god give her strength and touch her body in healed each part which cause pain to her.
CAROL of Edmond, OK i am keeping your husband Carl in my prayer for his back surgery. i pray all goes well.
JK praise the lord as your friend Amy’s mother’s cataract surgery went well. praying for quick recovery. i also pray that god relieve you from back pain you are having from yesterday.
DARREN of Ashdown, AR PTL!!!! your friend Roger Woodall back from the hospital. praying for his quick healing.
Cherie i am praying for you and Ron both. May God Always pour his love warmth and care on both of you.
HEIDI of Woodstock, IL i am praying for your husband Brian's, i pray god healed his tumor.
Rachel i am praying for you sister i so understand your situation and you are always in my prayer. you are the child of God and he will never forsaken you nor leave you.
dave of Manassas, VA dear i like the beginning statement of your post that's so true. i am sending you travel mercy as you Headed to SC tomorrow.
praying for all need spoken or unspoken over here.
God Blesses everyone.

Posted February 22, 2017 at 01:34AM CST
Comment by raynard of newark, DE

Good Morning U.R Family. Thank you Stanley for your devotional. As you grow and mature, your faith grows like its says in Psalms 1. You know the part about the tree planted near the living water. As your needs( diet) changes , you have challenges to stay feeding on good nourishment.. I spoke of a lady several weeks ago who wanted to adopt my late aunt's dog . But at the last minute, she could not but now is assisting us in her care .She called Monday and wants to give us a better cage for her to be comfortable in.. She also apologized which I said " it's ok, as you wasn't speaking directly to me. In the care of our late aunt's dog, I let her know the challenges the dog had getting good care cause when her aunt got sick... Asking for prayer for a former church member who moved about two years ago to be with her adult daughter. We found out Sunday that her daughter had a heart attack and died. She was only 39.. Also my wife's hours on her job is slowly increasing.. Yesterday my job asked me to work overtime for 90 minutes and I did. Also prayers for whoever got hurt at work yesterday.. Before I forget.. Life lesson number 55 and counting. My prayers is I never limit or use a formula. God places something or someone or people on my heart .It may or may not start the same but the list always grow longer... Jesus" never prayed like" he was a auctioneer at state fair while he had" cotton candy " in his mouth.. I digress ... Prayers going out to each and every spoken and unspoken prayer request.. Be blessed and encouraged evcryone and have a great day..

Posted February 22, 2017 at 02:43AM CST
Comment by George of Virginia Beach, VA

Stanley, thank you for the reading, praying your wife's health concerns have been taken care of and you all are doing well. Joe, I believe God hears and answers all prayers, just not always in the way we would like him to. I think it is more for our comfort to have a group of people praying for us. Rachel, continued prayers for peace for you. Dave, travel mercies, and praying for you and your family. Carol, praying for your husband Carl having back surgery. JK, praying Amy's mother recovers quickly from cataract surgery. Cherie, praying for Ron to have relief from kidney stones, I know from Bethanne how painful that can be. Catherine, praying for your DIL and baby during her pregnancy, and praying your son finds a job. Michael, praying for baby Violet and her family as she has a fever and is back in the hospital. Darren, continued prayers for Rodger to recover. Raynard, praying for your church member and her family as her 39 year old daughter passed. Praises for all needs met, and prayers for all needs spoken or unspoken. Have a blessed day!

Posted February 22, 2017 at 03:56AM CST