Being Sensitive To The Holy Spirit
We ARE the Church we must BE the Church! Be prayed up so that when God sends someone to you, when a need crosses your path, you will be sensitive to the Spirit and can pray for them right then and there.
Consistent, daily, and throughout the day prayer and worship will usher us into His presence and lead us into intercessory prayer. He is faithful and will use us when we make ourselves available.
There, we will find life giving POWER to speak peace and encouragement into others around us. When we have been with Jesus, it is infectious and contagious. Spend time with Him, let His Spirit refresh you every day so that you may be a conduit that the power of the Holy Ghost works in and through to change the lives of those around you.
What other intercessory prayer examples can you think of? Share them with us in the comments.
This post about intercessory prayer was written by our special guest contributor and prayer warrior, Nannette Elkins, who has served as a pastors wife, missionary, speaker, and teacher. She also authored The Daniel Fast Devotional: A 21 Day Journey of Faith, available on Amazon.
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Get Someone To Volunteer To Run The Prayer Meeting
A corporate prayer night should not be dominated by a single person who is praying but its still helpful to have someone running the meeting, to ensure that things move along properly. Well discuss the structure of a corporate prayer meeting in-depth in the next session.
A pastor, elder, deacon, or even just someone who volunteers for the role will do a fine job of running the prayer meeting. Choose someone who is faithful, experienced in administering meetings, and has a joyous heart which is prepared for the task of running a prayer meeting.
Household Prayer Is An Important Act Of Both Hospitality And Evangelism
19th century minister theologian J. W. Alexander wrote: We are, perhaps, ready enough to make our guests welcome, to provide for their lodging and refreshment, to show them the wonders of our environs, and to invite friends for their entertainment but, besides this, we owe a duty to their souls.
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Six Reasons The Church Needs Corporate Prayer
We read in Acts 2 that Peter preached to crowds and they were cut to the heart . Scriptures tells us that 3,000 were added to the church that day when Peter proclaimed, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit . Thousands were compelled by the working of the Spirit through Peters words to understand and believe that Jesus, whom they crucified, was indeed both Lord and Christ .
Immediately after they believed, we read that the new believers devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. We see signs and wonders, belief, and generosity. We see worship, hospitality, praise, unity, and evangelistic growth .
Who doesnt want their church to look like the body of Christians we see in Acts 2?
But the excitement of signs and wonders and favor and awe and new believers may cause us to race right past the first churchs commitment to prayertheir commitment to root their ministry in dependance on the Lord.
For the early church, prayer was not an afterthought, or the Christian way to start and end a meeting. Prayer was not an addendum to the real work of the apostles. Prayer was central then and it must be for us now.
In this age when activity and productivity are equated with spiritual fruit, the quiet act of prayer is easily forsaken. But here are six reasons the Church needs corporate prayer.
Pray For Spiritual Health
The Bible absolutely encourages us to pray for the physical health of others. Many of the times of corporate prayer in Scripture are for physical deliverance from affliction. But we should not do this at the expense of praying for the spiritual health of the church. If we look at Matthew 6:913 and the example of how our Lord taught us to pray, eighty percent of the supplications are made with regard not our physical needs, but to our spiritual needs. While legalistic percentages are not necessary, we should recognize that both individual and corporate prayer should be centered on our need for the grace of Christ above all else. Set the example in your church by praying for spiritual health more than you pray for physical health.
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How To Be An Intercessor
Today, there are hurting people all around us. Now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep prayers are not going to change our world. But when we get alone with God, when we take the needs of people to the throne and literally stand in the gap for them, we can see revival come to our communities!
Stand in the gap for your families!
Stand in the gap for your friends!
Stand in the gap for the broken, the hurting, the sick, the homeless, the drug addict, the prostitutefor everyone!
God Is Glorified When He Works For Us
No eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
This is the theology that drives my church and our prayer ministry. You cant serve God. He will not give you the glory of being a resource to him. He will preserve the glory of being the all-sufficient fountain spilling out upon you. He means to be the glorious servant in your life.
When your people get thrilled with knowing that hes bent on doing two things, glorifying his name and doing that by working for helpless people who ask him to, they are set free. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything .
Come to worship on the lookout for God, leave on the lookout for people.
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Use A Prayer Meeting For Prayer
Following these biblical examples, we need times dedicated specifically to prayer. We should not use a prayer meeting primarily as a time for a third sermon or a midweek Bible-study. There is nothing wrong with that kind of meeting, but it should not be called a prayer meeting. Yes, we should root our churchs prayer in the Word of God, but remember that you have come together for the primary purpose of prayer. The majority of the meeting should not be spent teaching, or even in listing off prayer requests. The overwhelming majority of the prayer meeting should be devoted to exactly thatprayer!
Corporate Prayer Invests In Evangelism
Lastly, but not exhaustively, praying with others invests in Gods work to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. We see in Acts that the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved . As we pray, the Lord works to draw others to himself.
John says, And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us . And Peter tells us, that the Lord does not wish that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance . We know that when we pray for the salvation of others, it is the Lords desire that all would repent, and his will that some should be saved. We can join him in his work of redemption as we pray for those who are lost.
May it not be said of the church today that, You do not have, because you do not ask .
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Does Acts : 2331 Support The Practice Of Simultaneous Prayer
Simultaneous prayerthe corporate practice of praying different prayers at the same timeis a worldwide phenomenon. One text frequently raised in support of the practice is Acts 4:2331. This article explores that passage, reflecting on the Jewish liturgical backdrop and evaluating exactly how the early church prayed together. Acts 4 does provide a model for prayer, but it does not explicitly support simultaneous prayer, since Luke only records a single prayer and the spontaneity of the prayer is married to the liturgical recitation of Psalm 2:12. While simultaneous prayer could possibly find support elsewhere in Scripture, Christian communities should aspire to reflect the apostolic example in Acts 4.
In Zambia, the practice of simultaneous prayer is increasingly commonplace. In 2018, our seminary scheduled me to visit a Baptist church on the northside of Lusaka, the capital city with over 2.9 million people.1 The roads were alive with well-dressed churchgoers hustling to their churches, with men in suits and women mostly dressed according to the color of their Christian denomination. Dusty streets surrounded the tin-roofed building with a cross-shaped floorplan, and the temperature increased significantly as I entered the hall filled with smiling faces, wooden benches, and purple cloth. As a guest representing the seminary, I was ushered to a chair behind the pulpit, next to the pastor.
Follow These Steps And Worship God With Corporate Prayer At Your Church
Corporate prayer is a great way for you to encourage deeper church participation, and it is a rewarding way to connect with God more effectively, and learn more about Him and His plans for your church. So, if you do not host regular corporate prayer meetings, we highly recommend that you start doing so as soon as possible follow the steps above, and youll be able to get started quickly, and ensure that your prayer meetings are effective and well-attended.
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Choose A Night And Time That Is Convenient For Your Church Members
First and foremost, you should try to choose a date and time that is convenient for church members who would like to attend. If youre just beginning to introduce regular prayer meetings to your church congregation, we would recommend polling them to find out which nights are the best for them.
Using a service such as DialMyCalls, you can set up a prayer hotline that allows you to take messages from church members. Then, you can request that they call and tell you which day and time works the best for them. Ideally, youll want to choose a night when the most possible people can attend.
Our recommendation is Wednesday night. Since Wednesdays are in the middle of the week, generally do not have many conflicts among your church members. However, you should choose whichever night your congregation members prefer and we recommend limiting the time of the event to an hour, or an hour and a half maximum.
Recognize The Biblical Importance Of Corporate Prayer
Throughout Scripture, the people of God have always gathered for times of united corporate prayer . Often, these times of corporate prayer were in response to a crisis, but in the book of Psalms, we see that prayer was a part of the regular worship of the gathered people of God . In Acts 2:42, we see that one of the primary things the church is to do when it comes together is to pray. In these biblical instances of corporate prayer, prayer is not a thirty-second afterthought at the end of a sermon. It is a primary, and on certain occasions the singular, purpose of the gathering. As churches, we ought to consider this when incorporating prayer into the services of the church.
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Examples Of Prayer In The Bible
From Adam talking to God in the garden to Paul praising God while bound in prison, examples of prayer in the Bible can be found in every book. The importance of prayer is written throughout the Bible for our benefit and to encourage us in the most important relationship we have.
I tried to categorize examples of prayer in the Bible and also keep it to a minimum because this topic could get lengthy! The categories are stories of prayer in the Bible, prayers of praise in the Bible, and then a short study on prayers in the Bible found in Psalms. David is one of my favorite examples of prayer as he openly wrote his heart out to God in full confidence that he was being heard.
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As a church, we recently made some changes to the format of our Sunday evening service with the view of emphasising corporate prayer as a church family. There have been some teething issues, and a good amount of reflection as to whether this was a good move. But having vacillated on this, having worked through some theological and ecclesiological issues, and having listened to many church members, I am more persuaded than ever that this is a move in the right direction.
The purpose of this particular study is to examine the biblical case for such corporate prayer. I trust that it will serve in some ways to strengthen the case for corporate prayer and, at least four our church, to encourage more and more participation. Perhaps it would have been a good thing to study this subject before commencing with the aforementioned changes. Nonetheless, it is never too late to consider what the Bible teaches on this matter.
This is actually a message that I should have given before we commenced this new approach. My apologies. Any future reformations, I will be more conscientious.
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The Contrast Between Simultaneous Prayer And The Acts 4 Prayer
The overlap between the practice of simultaneous prayer and the corporate prayer of the early church is straightforward. First, both cases express physical words to communicate with God, assuming upon his interest in human affairs and his attribute of omnipresence. Second, both practices require a corporate gathering of some kind. Third, intercessors in both situations share biblical language for prayer. But beyond those commonalities, little overlap persists.
The question remains concerning whether the Acts 4 prayer supports simultaneous prayer practices. While not amounting to an explicit repudiation of simultaneous prayer as a practice, it is difficult to overlook the glaring differences. Let us consider a few.
First, simultaneous prayer is often, though not always, deliverance and breakthrough oriented. Other passages of Scripture retell prayers of deliverance and demonstrate the validity of seeking Gods provision . But Acts 4 shares how the early church prayed for perseverance, seeking to remain bold in the face of persistent opposition. Content points us away from using Acts 4 as a support for simultaneous prayer.
The contrast is stark. As it is practiced around the world today, simultaneous prayer does not follow the model in Acts 4. While the descriptions may seem similar, this prayer of the early church is distinct, having more in common with a planned time of leader-led corporate prayer.
Resolution And Preparation Are The Best Equipment For Overcoming Reluctance To Pray Publicly
For these times, our best equipment is prior resolve to pray if given the opportunity and prior thought for what we will pray. Our topics might vary. We could pick a short verse of Scripture, a particular need, or a single ministry of our church as our prayer focus, but the important thing is that we come to corporate prayer with intention to lead others to the throne for their good and for Gods glory.
Brothers and sisters, let us pray.
Megan Hill is the author of several books, including Praying Together and A Place to Belong. She also serves as the managing editor for the Gospel Coalition. A pastors wife and a pastors daughter, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four children, where they belong to West Springfield Covenant Community Church .
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Gods People Will Keep Praying Together For Eternity
The Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, and when we read Revelation 19:1-8 we see that Gods people in heaven are doing just that. Their sin is removed, their human weakness is put to right, and they eternally shout with thanksgiving the perfected desire of their hearts: Hallelujah! . . . Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! .
Make Corporate Prayer A Recurring Event
We highly recommend that you make your prayer meetings a recurring event. You can host weekly, biweekly, or monthly meetings. To find out whats best for your church, we recommend asking your congregation.
Then, follow their recommendation, and make your prayer meetings a recurring event where everyone is welcome. As you continue to host meetings, youre sure to attract more members of your congregation to your prayer meetings. In turn, this will help your church get closer to God and His spirit.
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