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Few churches take time to pray together, and if they do the people are often at loss for what to pray. Shyness may play a role. Fear of being judged on the wording of a prayer is another factor of which I often hear. Then, there are those who “always pray,” not allowing others the chance. Or worse yet, some may turn the prayer time into ‘correction’ of the church and its leaders.
Despite these things, church-wide prayer time is assumed and even commanded in the New Testament. A church (as a whole and in the lives of its individuals) cannot be healthy without such open prayer. It is the duty of every elder/pastor/minister to ensure an atmosphere of openness, trust and sincerity for prayer times, so that all who feel the urge of the Holy Spirit to pray can have the opportunity of knowing supportive agreement from fellow believers.
Below are a few Bible passages which instruct the reader about church-wide prayer times. God is good to provide us both subject matter and methods for these meetings. Those who follow the biblical instructions will find times of prayer refreshing and even spiritually addictive, because the time will fly by, comfort from the Holy Spirit will abound… and so will God’s answers.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 | Context: Doctrinal Purity (The one and only God; Jesus is only mediator between God and mankind)
- Men, who are raising holy hands without anger or quarreling (indicating they are saved, redeemed and have access by Jesus to God; also an allusion to Moses lifting his hands in spiritual warfare – Exodus 17:11-12)
- Women, who are modest in spirit and dress (indicating they are saved, redeemed and have access by Jesus to God… and allow imperfect men to lead according to God’s order)
- By Supplications — uttering with the mouth aloud
- By Prayers — thoughts and desires presented to God, lit. “Asking”
- By Intercessions — identifying with one in need and pleading God’s mercy and grace on their life
- By Thanksgiving — praises to God for people and aspects of life
- FOR all people
- FOR kings and all in authority
Why? For What?
- SO THAT we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
- SO THAT all may to come to the knowledge of the truth (saved/discipled).
Jude 20-22 | Context: Doctrinal Purity (against those who deny the Lord that bought them)
- The Beloved, The Redeemed
- Praying in the Holy Spirit’s Power (Influence)
- FOR Yourselves (to remain faithful and mature)
- FOR Those who are deceived by false doctrine.
Why? For What?
- SO THAT You build yourselves up in the Faith.
- SO THAT You keep yourself in the love of God by looking for the return of Jesus.
- SO THAT You differentiate the deceivers from the deceived
Matthew 18:18-20 | Context: Spiritual Purity (free from unrepentant sin); i.e. “Church Discipline”
- The Church, or even 2-3 people gathered in Jesus’ Name.
- In Agreement Together
- By Binding and Loosing (Deciding to Release) the Unrepentant from Fellowship with the Church, or condemn a community which together openly rejects a Gospel witness from believers (Matthew 10:14; 16:18-20).
- FOR Those refusing to repent of sin
- FOR Our own selves who “think we stand firm, unless we should fall”
- FOR Whatever else the Lord may lead us to ask
Applications: [things to pray for in a prayer meeting]
–Freedom from unrepentant sin and the powerful unity & answers to prayer such a freedom brings
–Purity of beliefs, especially about Jesus’ being truly God and the Only Savior of Mankind
–Salvation of those who don’t know the Truth, esp. “Community Leaders”
–Continued Freedom to lead Christian lives peacefully and in dignity