42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
A church will never be on fire for the Lord unless it is a church of prayer. Satan wants to keep us from praying. That is his biggest goal in his fight against the church- not to keep us from studying the bible, not from working within the church, but from praying. Praying is us, fellowshipping with God. It is us, calling on the God almighty, our heavenly father, asking, for His power.
The praying church is proclaiming its dependence on God to make things happen.
Acts 1: 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
In Acts 2:42 they were "steadfastly" in prayer:
1) to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one
2) to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing
3) to continue all the time in a place
4) to persevere and not to faint
5) to show one's self courageous for
6) to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly
Are we steadfastly in prayer today? How often do we pray with our church family? What is the first service to give up, when the thought comes of not going to a service in a week's time? Usually, it is the mid week prayer meeting, isn't it?
The praying church is depending on God's power to do God's work.
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
31And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
33And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Without God's power, plans, strategies, all the study in the world means nothing! Prayer links our nothing to His power. A prayerless church is like a tank in a car without gas- it can go nowhere.
The praying church is a united church:
19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Of course the context of that verse is having to do with dealing with a brother that has offended you, but would you not agree that a church is much more than two or three people? A church that prays is in one accord. We get our English word "symphony" from the word accord; imagine a church praying together as if it was a symphony, everyone praying their special "part", all in harmony seeking to God's will, unified, together.
Have you ever prayed with someone you did not care for? I would think it wold be hard not to love someone who I was praying with. When Pastor mentioned that I thought about people who not that I necessarily don't get along with (I'm easygoing most of the time ;o) but people who I know we disagree on a lot of things. I think of a family member of mine. I would really have a hard time not feeling closer to her, knowing she and I were praying with the same purpose and of the same frame of heart, to my God. When we are praying, our desires become God's desires, we are closer to Him as a result of seeking His power and will through prayer.
The praying church seeks God for laborers.
Matthew 9:37 -38
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
It prays for protection over God's people, likewise, it trusts God for protection from Satan. It is aware that Satan wants to discourage and divide the body of Christ, and will tempt Christians not to live for the Lord. He would love nothing more than to distract our attention from what the Lord wants us to do individually, and as a church.
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
The praying church is able to go through great trials and tribulations because they are unified in prayer.
3And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
5Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Here we have Peter, thrown in jail. Instead of the church coming together and figuring out how to make bail for him, or how to bust him out of there, they called a prayer meeting. How many times do we exhaust every measure of our own selves that we can come up with, then when we can do no more, we pray? Isn't that a bit backwards? I remember someone saying once "Well all that is left to do is to pray...", like that's the last resort. Praying, should be our FIRST resort. Trust me, I'm preaching to myself too! I tend to forget my own life verse a lot when I am wallowing in my flesh!
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
"He who prays the most, helps the most". It is these people who are able to trust God more wholly and depend upon His power to make things happen. That has got to be a peace that is unbelievable to understand unless you have actually experienced it, don't you think? Have you experienced that kind of peace?
A praying church asks for the opportunity to share the gospel.
1Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
2Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
3Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
TRAVELING ON YOUR KNEES
Last night I took a journey
To a land across the seas.
I didn't go by ship or plane
I traveled on my knees.
I saw so many people there
In bondage to their sin,
And Jesus told me I should go,
That there were souls to win.
But I said "Jesus, I can't go
To lands across the seas."
He answered quickly, "Yes, you can
By traveling on your knees."
He said, "You pray, I'll meet the need.
You call, and I will hear.
It's up to you to be concerned
For lost souls far and near."
And so I did; knelt in prayer,
Gave up some hours of ease,
And with the Savior by my side,
I traveled on my knees.
As I prayed on, I saw souls saved
And twisted persons healed,
I saw God's workers strength renewed
While laboring in the field.
I said, "Yes Lord, I'll take the job.
Your heart I want to please.
I'll heed Your call and swiftly go
By traveling on my knees."
By Sandra Goodwin