…the church was earnestly praying to God…
One Sunday morning Joy and I were invited to speak at one of our Network churches. During the gathering, the lead pastor graciously invited anyone present who desired prayer, to come forward during the final moments of the worship portion of the service. Pre-selected and prepared individuals were positioned at the front and welcomed those who came forward. People came from all over the sanctuary with a spirit and expectancy of James 5:13-16.
I must tell you, although the worship was inspirational and my message was timely, I felt that the high point of that gathering was the time taken to pray for those who had come with great concerns, heavy burdens, desperate situations or broken hearts. What happened in that portion of the service was huge and I’ll never forget it.
It affirmed the unbeatable combination for any church:
- The promises of God
- The prayers of God’s people.
When this combination is put into practice, faith rises up and fear runs away. The church begins to experience signs and wonders. The ministry of a local church or outreach takes great leaps forward and the blessing of God is enjoyed when people pray together.
Although I am encouraged by the vision and growth in many of our Network churches and ministries, I am most anxious to see more and more of our churches and ministries give room for corporate prayer. The times when people with needs can come with the assurance someone will agree with them in prayer. Times when the church jointly prays for their families, their communities, their schools and their children. Times when the prayer of agreement with others for direction can take place. It is an unbeatable combination of claiming the promises of God and engaging the prayers of God’s people.
Peter’s release from jail came as a result of the church joining together in earnest prayer. The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt as result of Nehemiah leading the people in corporate prayer. The church or ministry you serve was birthed when a group of people prayed together. We need this more than ever.
Actions to Consider:
- Consider giving time in your weekend gatherings/services to pray for the needs of the people. This can be done during the early part of worship or at the end of the service.
- Consider leading in a pastoral prayer in each service addressing specific areas of need. People desire to hear the voice of their pastor praying for them.
- Consider leading an all-church prayer gathering or night of worship involving several people in participatory prayer.
- Consider raising up a prayer team with mature and prepared leaders. It is wise to provide instruction and guidelines for those on the prayer team.
- Consider beginning every leadership meeting and pre-service meeting with prayer.
I am convinced this will revive, reemphasize and reinstitute cooperate prayer and the weight of your ministry will be lighter, and the wonders of God’s mighty acts will be more and more frequent and common.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31