Friday, February 3, 2012

Simple Faith: Pray Together

Last night, God was definitely in Rowe 130. Jon spoke on prayer for just a few moments before we broke down into small groups and just began to pray. It was one of the most powerful times of prayer that I think I've ever experienced. Honestly, I loved ending the message just talking to God together...participating in the meeting made it resonate all the more in my life.

Let me ask you a question(or several)...If God did things on campus (or in your workplace or family or earth in general) based solely on whether you prayed for them or didn't pray for them...would that be a good or bad thing? If the gospel's advance in this world depended on your prayers, would it be advancing?

What would it look like to be known as a ministry, a church, a generation...of prayer warriors? People who pray all the time! God is doing amazing things! He is birthing in this generation a passion for holiness and boldness. He is growing us together and giving us a vision. But how many of these things has he done because we prayed for them? Or has he just given them to us out of his faithfulness? What could God be doing in and through us that we have yet to pray for but that we could be praying for? Is he waiting for us to pray? What effect would it have...individually and corporately...if we began to pray together? I believe that it would make a tremendous difference. We must begin to change our prayer lives and focus our attention on prayer. We need to grow together in prayer.
Acts 2:42-47 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
This passage is basically a summary of the New Testament church after the Holy Spirit came and 3000 were saved. It is a snapshot of the early church. They were a people who were marked by prayer and devotion.

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teachings...we are taught through God's word...the literal writings of the apostles. They devoted themselves to fellowship...life on life, sharing, communion...they shared life together. They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread...usually associated with the Lord's Supper in the context of worship services. They also devoted themselves to prayer.

Prayer is not only spoken of in this passage but all through Acts. People prayed for Peter when he was in prison...leaders prayed...and God met them. Paul said that he was thankful for the prayers of the people. Paul and Luke both reference corporate prayer...praying together. Prayer was the lifeblood of the early church.

I tend to take a simplistic view on this matter...if it's in the scriptures, then we need to do it...we must start praying together as a ministry, as a church, as a community, as a fellowship of believers, as a generation! If we want to know Jesus, follow him in simple faith, grow to be like him, and be used by him for his mission...then we must pray.

Jesus prayed all the time...he was led by the Father. We need to model after him. In simple faith, pray and expect God to move. It's easy to sing truth but prayer is where the rubber meets the road...it's where we see our dependence upon him. Prayer helps us know, grow, follow, and proclaim Him. It is the lifeblood of a Christian.

So what then are we to do...the answer is simply to pray. Pray right now...stop reading this if you have to...close your eyes and meet with your Maker. Jon gave us a few things to pray for specifically. I invite you to pray along with us...both for this in our lives as well as for this in your own life.
  1. Pray for God to move.
    1. God does this in a few ways: he comes, makes his presence know, and makes his power known.
    2. Ask that his presence and power will come so that we could see and know Him
    3. Pray that he would break hearts of stone and bring people to himself.
    4. We need his presence and power.
  2. Pray that God changes our hearts.
    1. Pray for a boldness and a love for people as he comes and moves.
    2. Pray that we would be empowered and used.
    3. Pray that he would give us his compassion and turn us from our selfishness.
    4. Pray that he would work through us and give us a new heart for people.
    5. Pray that we would step out in faith and preach the gospel.
    6. Pray that we would go, do, and expect.
Isaiah 64:1 Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—
Imagine that for a moment...really imagine that.

Remember the Lord's Prayer? I think we all learned this at some point in life...but did you ever stop to think about what you're truly praying? Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Think about the implications of that...
Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Far more abundantly than all that we ask or think...this tells me that I can ask for the greatest thing I could imagine and God would still do greater than that. I could ask for the entire campus to know his name and he could speak his name over the city...or state...or country...or world. Ask bold things...go out in boldness and expect that he will do great things. You don't have to hold back in your prayers...expect that God is great enough to accomplish all that you ask and imagine...and more.

Right now, right where you are...gather those around you and pray together in faith. Imagine if God did all that you asked. Imagine if you prayed that God filled you with boldness and then tomorrow you go out and shared the gospel and God saved that person. The thing is...you can't just stop at praying for boldness...you have to go out in boldness. You don't expect that God will do what you ask because you don't have faith or you don't think he's listening.

God answers prayers based on Jesus in your place. Jesus perfects your prayers. God doesn't see our failures...he sees Christ's work on our behalf. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray so that we will pray the very things that God wants to do. If you believe this, then devote yourself to prayer. God will move. We don't talk to a fake God. Think about the disciples prayers for a moment...they were praying to someone who shared a meal with them only a few days before...they were praying to someone they knew. We are praying to the same Jesus...the risen, alive, King. He wants to meet us in great ways.

  • So pray that God will make his presence known...that we would feel his holiness and the weight of our sin. Pray for power...that he would break down walls, reveal himself, and save lives. We don't want to just read about it happening in the Bible, we want to see it and live it.
  • Pray that God would purify us...that he would reveal sin in our lives that hinders us from his calling on our lives. Pray that he would give us the power to change...that he would give us a love and compassion for others...that we would see that eternity is in the balance.
  • Pray for boldness...that we would give up our fear and stop cowering and letting Satan take over. God is on our side...why are we so afraid? Take him with you wherever you go.
  • Pray for God's fame on campus, in the workplace, in families, in our lives, in our generation. Pray that his name and renown would be the desire of our hearts.
  • Pray that he would make it all real to us...that he would do a work.
Our God is good...he is powerful...and he can do everything. Lets go to him in prayer...unite yourselves in prayer. We will see him do crazy things if we focus our hearts toward prayer.

1 comment:

Ethan Mulligan said...

Thanks posting this it was really encouraging. I recently been reading book on prayer entitled a praying life by Paul E. Miller. Which has taught a lot about how to pray and why we pray.