I was raised in a tradition that believed the man alone on his knees in the closet is the pinnacle of great prayer–one person one-on-one with the Almighty. Like Moses on Sinai. I still think that is extremely important. But the cutting edge of my personal prayer life lately has been in corporate prayer.
I didn't understand this very well when I was growing up. I grew up in a church that had midweek prayer meetings, and I hated them. Now I realize that good corporate prayer can demand more of us spiritually than individual prayer does. When I'm alone with God, I don't have to deal with other people. Frankly, I like God a lot more than I like some people. But the Lord is clear: if we love him, we must love others. Thus joining my heart with others before the throne of his grace is a way of loving God.
In many ways, the same rules that apply to good conversation apply to good corporate prayer. When our kids were young, it was a big deal just to get them to wait their turn to speak in dinner ...1