FRIDAY — YOUR CHURCH
We have been providing some prayer tips each day to help your prayer life to flourish during our week of prayer. I hope you will incorporate all these different tips into your own individual prayer life after this focus week is over. Today I want to share with you about two important aspects of prayer, the prayer of agreement, and the act of listening.
One of the things we have tried to encourage this week is the prayer of agreement. We have posted specific topics to pray about and specific Scriptures to pray throughout the day. Additionally, for those who are local, we have been meeting every night for an hour to have a live event of corporate prayer.
Some may have the attitude that I can pray better on my own in the privacy of my own prayer closet. I agree that we all should certainly pray individually and our prayer life may be different when we are praying alone than it is when you are corporately praying. However, both types of prayer have an important place.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 18:19-20 NKJV:
“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. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
From a practical perspective, what might that look like? Well we have had many opportunities to practice this during our week of prayer together. When someone is praying about a focus topic, you can join in and pray in agreement instead of just listening to that person pray.
Why is this type of prayer important? One reason is that unity is a powerful force! One of the best examples of united prayer is found in Acts 4, when the religious leaders threatened to hurt Peter and John unless they stopped preaching about Jesus. The church’s response was to go to prayer in one accord.
Acts 4:24; 31-32 KJV
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
I won’t read the whole prayer that covers the next 7 verses, but at the end of the prayer we read in Acts 4:31-32
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul:
I think it is interesting that the first verse I read says, “They lifted up their voice to God in one accord”. It doesn’t say voices. It was a united prayer that made the place literally shake!
We read a little later in Acts that Herod killed James and imprisoned Peter, and once again the Bible tells us that, “Prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God” (Acts 12:5 NASU). If you read the whole story an angel of the Lord came and Peter’s chains fell off and he was able to walk right out of that prison. The power of their united prayer broke the chains that held Peter. There are so many chains that need broken off so many people we know. The solution is for a united church to come together and pray the prayer of faith in one accord.
The second prayer topic I want to quickly share is about listening. If I called my husband on the phone and I said, “Where are you? When are you coming home? What are you doing tonight? Did you have a good day at work? What are your plans for this weekend? By the way I need you to take the trash out. After that can you run to the store for me, I need bread. I need you to throw in a load of laundry. I have to go, I will talk to you later, good-bye!”
Can you imagine a one-sided conversation like that where I ask all these questions, make a bunch of demands, and then just end the conversation?
Can I suggest that if we are not careful, this is often what our prayer conversation sounds like to God. It is so easy to be caught up in asking God all the questions we need answered, and list all the needs we have, but forget to stop talking and position ourselves to hear His response.
Learning to “be still” in His presence is often a discipline that is hard to learn but practice and you will get better at it. I just want to encourage you to develop this practice. Listening for the voice of God is an essential part of your prayer time.
- Pray for your pastor.
- Pray for increased effectiveness as your church reaches your community.
- Pray for spiritual growth, biblical literacy, and church health.
Matthew 16:18-19 NKJV: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Ephesians 2:19-22 NKJV: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Ephesians 4:11-14 NKJV: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”
1 Peter 4:10-11 NKJV: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 4:1-6 NKJV: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Ephesians 1:15-23 NKJV: “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”