A Praying Church

Pray with Power

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

Have you ever felt the urge to pray for someone? Do you follow through immediately, or do you feel like you can safely add them to your list for your next scheduled prayer time? Do you see the prayer requests of others and wonder how to pray so that real change occurs?

We need to be taught how to pray effectively. The disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Many believers go an entire lifetime without ever learning how to pray with power and, as a result, get discouraged concerning prayer. The greatest problem in our prayer life is unoffered prayer. Our Lord has commanded us to pray.

…Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 4:2-3

Many people give up if they don’t see immediate results, but persistent prayer is effective prayer. Christ gave many teachings encouraging us to be persistent in our prayers.

Prayer is your lifeline, your chance for direct and sincere communication with the Creator of the Universe, the God Who Sees, the God Who Hears, your Strong Tower.  Know to Whom you pray and spend time with Him.  The time you spend in prayer will be well rewarded with peace and seeing God’s hand move on your behalf.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, open my eyes to keep watch, open my spirit to pray. Teach me to pray effectively. Your Word says that the earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and produces wonderful results. Lord, give me Your righteousness and set my heart to pray earnestly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Further Reading: Mark 14:38, Luke 18:1

Prayer Brings Peace and Invites God to Act

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 

Finding yourself worried, anxious or stressed about a matter is proof that this area of your life needs prayer. Prayer brings peace, while we await God’s action.

When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

Matthew 6:7-8 

If your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him, why should you pray? You don’t pray to impress God. God is not impressed by how you pray. You don’t pray to inform God. God already knows your needs before you pray. You don’t pray to instruct God. Many people treat prayer like they need to tell God what He should do for them. 

You pray to invite God. Prayer is proof of humility. It is the admission that you need and want God’s blessing and help in every detail of your life. Spend time with God today, and invite Him to move in your life!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I invite You to move in my life today. You know every detail of my life and You see my need. I come in humility, recognizing that every good and perfect thing comes from You. I need more good and perfect things in my life; Your good will, Your perfect plan. I submit myself, all of myself, to You and ask that You will show Your hand in action. I ask this not only for the benefit of what You will do, but also for the privilege of simply seeing You act. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The Lord’s Desire Is My Desire

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

Psalms 37:4-5

You need three factors active in your prayer life: desire, direction, and determination! Today we will focus on the first of these: desire.

A desire is more than a casual wanting. If you are half-hearted about the subject of your prayer, you might as well not waste your prayer time. None of us has an excess of prayer time.  There is no reason to build your prayer life on half-hearted prayers. You need passion!

Look again at our verse today. These are strong words; delight, desire, commit, everything, trust. You serve a mighty God who is able and willing to help you, but you need desires that match His desires. I believe He will give you the desires of your heart in two ways: He can first place Godly desires inside of you, and then He will fulfill those desires.

When your desires are focused on God, the temporal things of life lose their grip on you, and God will freely supply all of your physical needs. You choose what you desire, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.” His desire was to know only Jesus Christ. He made a purposeful decision towards that goal and he not only spread the Gospel, he wrote Holy Scripture. Your desires have spiritual effect when they center on Christ.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, let my desires mirror Your desires. You so greatly desire that no one should perish eternally, that You gave up Your greatest treasure, Your Son, Your Self. When I pray for You to let my heart break for what breaks yours, I don’t want it to be a cliché. Change my heart so that my priority is Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Further Reading: Mark 11:24-25, Matthew 6:33 

Following the Lord’s Direction

Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end.

Psalms 119:33-40

You need direction in your prayer life! Yesterday, we looked at your desires. Your desire is to further the Kingdom of Heaven, now you need direction from God. You need the Holy Spirit to direct your prayers.

As you seek God’s face and seek His kingdom first, He will give direction and purpose to your life. He has promised to direct the path of a righteous man. Psalm 119 records that His Word is a light unto your path. When you pray for direction, go before God with His promises in your heart and ask Him in faith, knowing that He will answer.

As a Christian, you are called to be a leader, to be a priest leading people to Christ. You are not called to wander through life directionless. A Christian without direction is an ineffective witness, and you are called beyond that. 

1 Chronicles 28:9 reminds you to “learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately.” God knows you intimately, but you must gain intimacy with Him.  You become intimate with God the same way you became intimate with your closest friends, by spending time together, by paying attention to the details of their being. You note how they talk, how they move, how they think. In fact, you probably finish their sentences, and they finish yours. If you put this focus in place in your time spent with God, you will become intimate with Him and instantly know His voice when He speaks, when He answers your prayers and gives you direction.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know that You work all things together for the good of those who are in You. I thank You that whatever mess I have made in the wanderings of my life can be used to bring You glory. I come before you today to ask for Your specific direction in my life, so that I will live the rest of my life to bring You worship, to direct others to know Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Further Reading: Romans 8:26-27, Psalm 119:33-40, 105, Matthew 6:33

Determined 

But I tell you this-though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

Luke 11:8

You need determination in your prayer life! This week we considered desire and direction, as they relate to prayer. Finally, let me remind you to exercise determination with God.

How long should you continue to pray? You should pray until you have the answer in your hand, in your heart or until God says a clear “No.” God will not grow weary of hearing your prayers and there are many examples in the Bible that show that God’s mind can be changed by prayers. He cares that you talk to Him and He actually cares about what you have to say. Your opinion matters in heavenly realms! If you are living your life seeking the heart of God and you feel strongly enough about something to bring it before your Father, don’t give up on it! Press in with determination! But don’t miss the power of corporate prayer. 

We get so focused on ourselves, our needs, our prayer time, our personal growth, that we ignore the power of corporate prayer. Early Christians prayed! The church gathered regularly to pray. In times of crisis, they reached heaven as one voice! If we aren’t praying corporately, we are missing out! A church can be no greater than its prayer life. If you want to see your church grow in maturity, grow in numbers, grow in spiritual strength, encourage your leaders to establish frequent times of corporate prayer. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am determined to grow in spiritual maturity, in spiritual strength. I know that I will find maturity and strength only by spending time with You and praying as You taught. Thank You for teaching me how to be effective in prayer. I ask that You will give me direction to pray effectively, as I renew my commitment to pray. I want to pray purposeful prayers that reflect Your will, prayers that will produce wonderful results. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Further Reading: Luke 11:5-8

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