Everything Starts with Prayer
Everything in Church and the Christian life and ministry begins with prayer!
- We prayed and asked forgiveness of sins when we started our walk with Christ
- We prayed and received the Holy Spirit
- When we worship we pray and call on our Heavenly Father for grace
- We pray over our meals, pray for sick loved ones, and pray over our children at night when we tuck them into bed
- We pray for unsaved friends and family members
- And every morning is started by a time of prayer asking God for grace for the day to serve Him effectively
A disciple of Jesus Christ should have both a vision and theology for prayer as well as a life that models it.
The Praying Church
A true praying church has several ingredients, and these are the vital parts that make prayer effective and powerful in God’s house- which Jesus called the “House of Prayer”.
- Private prayer
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matt 6:6
Every dedicated follower of Jesus Christ practices a lifestyle of passionate prayer. They love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. They take up their cross and follow Jesus. And every day they find their secret place and commune with the Lord. They receive strength and grace and impartation from the Lord. They receive their daily directives and guidance from Him.
- Prayer of agreement
Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. Matt 18:19
Not only should we know how to pray personally and in private, but we should also know how to get in agreement with another believer. For married couples, this would be our spouse. For others it might be a small group, a friend, a roommate or a business associate. But if we want to see answers to prayers, we need to employ the power of agreement in prayer.
- Church prayer
So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth… And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:24, 31
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. Acts 12:5
The concept is simple. The church gathers together for prayer with every member lifting up a voice in agreement for issues that affect the entire church. Corporate prayer is mobilizing the entire church into spiritual agreement.
A Pastor or church leader will lift up their voice above the rest and lead the church, while the members get in agreement and verbally support the petitions and supplications of the Pastors as they lead.
- Ministry of prayer
this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. Luke 2:37
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezek 22:30
He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Isaiah 59:16
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, Eph 6:18-19
One area that is so important in Church life is the ministry of prayer and intercession. While all believers are called to pray, some give themselves more diligently and fervently to specific and strategic intercession. Groups of intercessors can be assigned to specific ministries and to pertinent issues in the church, the city, the Nation, and even the nations of the world.
- Apostolic prayer
far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; 1 Sam 12:23
Paul to Colossians
we do not cease to pray for you Col 1:9
Paul to Ephesians
do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers Eph 1:15-17
Paul to Galatians
My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, Gal 4:19
Jesus interceding for us
He always lives to make intercession for them. Heb 7:25
Christ is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34
In today’s church there are so many urgent needs and issues that must be addressed. Pastors of local churches and apostolic leaders of multiple churches should dedicate time each week to apostolic prayer, i.e. praying for other Pastors, for other churches, for leaders and laborers and for the work of the Kingdom of God around the world. The apostles of the New Testament did not just pray for survival- they prayed for revival!
2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:2-4 (NKJV)
A healthy Church is a praying church, with individual members praying privately(using the Lord’s prayer model); praying together with family members in agreement; praying together as a Church for corporate needs; praying for their pastors, who in turn pray for them, and having anointed and assigned Intercessors who add double coverage to the priorities of the church in prayer. Every church should nurture these important aspects of prayer.
The Praying Church of the 21st Century
- Every member praying at home and in private
- Every believer praying in agreement with another believer
- Church members fasting and praying each week
- Every church member in harmony with God and with other members of the church and in submission to those who lead
- Committed Members joining with the rest of the church in corporate prayer gatherings
- Prayers prayed fervently, effectively and specifically
- Continual prayer at all hours of the night and day as all members respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in supplication and intercession
Can we imagine the increase of effectiveness and exponential impact of an entire church praying in agreement. Every hour the church prays together is multiplied times the number who are gathered.
When two or three are gathered and pray an hour- three hours of prayer are sent to heaven. When two or three hundred gather, three hundred hours are lifted up to God. And when two or three thousand pray- three thousand spiritual sacrifices are offered on the altar of incense before God.
And can we imagine how much incense arises to the throne of God when churches of all nations agree in prayer, and the body of Christ unites in worldwide supplication and intercession?
In our first installment of our new “Advanced Discipleship Classes” we are presenting here the messages recently preached to our congregation here in Seattle during a scheduled “Prayer Week”. Also available are the notes for downloading and study.
May the Lord bless and enrich your prayer life and your understanding of the importance of this aspect of a true Christian disciple’s life.