Do you remember Elijah and the priests of Baal? No, not the pop group! This was on Mt. Carmel and they had that contest---the rocks, water, sacrifice---calling down fire from heaven. Well, if you can recall, the priests of Baal danced around, screamed, cut themselves, and then Elijah said, I'm pretty sure sarcastically (UNDERSTATEMENT), 'pray a little louder and your gods might hear you.' Yeah, right. OK, so let's reverse that idea and say that group prayer is the same thing. If we get a whole lot of people together praying, then we will pray louder and God will then hear us. No. God already knows what you're praying, and He is not hard of hearing. Well, it's a kind of strength in numbers kind of thing then? Um. No. God has already said that He will answer your prayer, if you pray alone. That's right. Alright, so what is the thing with group prayer?
First, God likes hearing more people praying. He said that the prayer of the upright is His delight. More people praying equals more delight. Second, we can know what other people are praying, and then pray for what they are. Their desires for answers can become our desires for answers---we can supplicate on their behalf. These are very, very good, but I believe that the bigger deal is that group prayer is supposed to help us pray in the will of God. God works uniquely through the church in a way that He does not work through individuals. He gave the church the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:19). The agreement of the church gets the attention with God in the loosing and bounding of someone to the church (Matthew 18:15-20). God wants the church to judge matters (1 Corinthians 6). The unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4) means that the church is getting Holy Spirit led doctrine. Agreement from the church brings confidence that something is the will of God. And what kind of prayers does God answer? Those in the will of God.
People will say that prayer is a personal thing. Not group prayer. When we pray as a group, that means the whole group is thinking through the prayer, and if the group cannot agree with what you are praying, then one or more should say something. Do we want answers or to impress people with our prayer phrases? Do wish to look spiritual like a Pharisee standing on the street corner or are we interested in seeing God? Helpful in group prayer is opening our prayers to the grid of God's people, to see if our prayers ring true with them. Perhaps they will know that our prayer isn't Scriptural. If we do find unity about what we are praying for, then we are also very likely finding that our prayer has been in the will of God. And then you get answers.