Recently Muslims made a public street in New York impassable. They prayed in front of Trump Tower for all to see. While much was made of this in the news, my thoughts couldn’t help but think about Christians praying and how our prayer is to be different from theirs.
In the past, at least in my tradition, Wednesday was “Prayer Meeting.” That night was set aside by the congregation for the Pastor to lead God’s people to pray. But that has changed. Nowadays Wednesday is the time for Bible Classes, the pastor to teach, and prayer has been relegated to a low place in the options of “things to do” (As if prayer is to be an option). Sadly, prayer is not as high a priority as it once was. And Christians wonder why our churches and denominations keep shrinking?
I’m of the opinion that what congregations need a massive injection of prayer from their lead ministers. It must NOT be public as those in New York, but privately… in homes and church buildings… behind closed doors (NOT in a street or in public). Toward this end, a good start would be to examine the Scriptures regarding prayer because the God who answers prayer is all powerful… the God who answers prayer does more in 1 second than all the sermons, study groups, organization, vision casting, and congregational leaders can to in a century. As it is written…
Is 56:7 “I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” Mt 21:13 (Jesus said) “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer…'”
Mt 6:6 “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
God said, and Jesus affirmed, that the primary activity to take place in His house is prayer. Not preaching… not vision casting… not teaching… not Bible study classes. While those things are of importance, they do NOT supplant the main activity called for in God’s house. Many preachers do studies and preaching series on prayer, but how often is the life of the church changed to become a house of prayer?
The kind of prayer we must be offering to God is called Kingdom Prayer. This excludes praying for the sick to be healed, as important as that is. It excludes praying for jobs… healed marriages… and “unspoken” requests, though they may be important to the individual. There can and should be other times and ways to bring those to God through prayer. Instead, the kind of prayer that MUST take center stage in God’s house is Kingdom Prayer! Here are a few examples of what is to be the most important prayers of believers.
John 17:1… Jesus prayed for God to be glorified. This is THE first and most important prayer.
Romans 10:1-2… The prayer for the lost to be saved.
Ephesians 1:16-20… Praying for people to have wisdom, revelation, and knowledge of Jesus. That the heart will be enlightened by God to know Him better.
Philippians 1:9-10… Praying for our love to grow with knowledge and discernment of Christ in life to do what is right and be blameless in judgment.
Colossians 1:9-10… To be filled with knowledge of God’s will, wisdom, and understanding to walk worthy of Christ… pleasing Him… bearing good fruit… and increasing in knowledge of God.
Colossians 4:2-3… For others to be steadfast in prayer, thankful, for God to open doors to spread the Gospel.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12… For God to make His own worthy of His call… to do good works of faith… for Jesus to be glorified!
Philemon 6… For the lost to be saved for Christ’s sake.
Now lets ask ourselves a few questions.
How devoted are we in conversing with God?
When we pray, do we pray in keeping with the Scripture above?
What is the emphasis and practice of prayer where we worship?
Does the congregation we attend have an organized prayer ministry as a high priority in member’s lives?
Maybe it is time for Christian congregations to return to their first love… God… by going before His throne boldly.