The past couple of weeks we have been talking about prayer. We started with the idea that there is a struggle, that it something that we often don't take time to do. I challenged us to think about the fact that without prayer, we are missing a very powerful part of the abundant life that God has designed for us.
We have an amazing example in Jesus of praying alone and having time to connect with the Heavenly Father, of using prayer as a time to receive refreshment and power through the Holy Spirit. We also see many examples in God's word of people praying together. There are so many verses in the Bible to talk about people praying together, about God’s design for this to bring unity and power to His Body the Church. As an examples, we see in Matthew 18 Jesus is talking to His disciples about prayer and states, “...for where two or three gathered in My name, there I am with them.” That is absolutely incredible if you think about what that is really saying to us. So often we are seeking God in prayer, wondering what He would have us to do and this verse tells us that when two or three of us are gathered together seeking the Lord, Jesus is right in the midst of that! He has promised to show up when we prayed together. Isn't that an incredible thought!?
Pastor Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life, teaches that praying together is an extra layer of the power of prayer. He encourages us to understand the fact that praying with other people is something that Jesus demonstrated and even commanded His disciples to do with one another. I read an article once that Jesus spoke on prayer 37 times through His ministry and 33 of those times the context was in a plural form rather than a singular form! That says to me that Jesus was pretty clear about us praying together, right?
In the days of the early church, after Jesus ascended back to heaven, we see the disciples praying together for so many different situations. They prayed together after Jesus left as they waited for the power of the Holy Spirit to fall on them at the day of Pentecost, they prayed together for the selection of a new disciple to replace Judas, they prayed together for the selection of Stephen and other men who would serve as deacons in the new church, they prayed together that they would have boldness if they went out in preached the good news of the Gospel. Prayer was their guidance, their signpost of God’s direction.
Honestly, for me, it is a struggle to even pray with my own family let alone have time to spare with other people in the body of Christ. So what can we do about finding time to pray with others? I think that's one of the key things, "finding time", and it's something that we need to be very intentional about doing.
One of the things that I am seeking to do is to gather women intentionally. I am currently working on promoting a women's prayer gathering for ministry leaders in my area. I'm stepping out in faith and doing this completely with the confidence that God is going to provide what we need. Right now, we have a Facebook group (Redeemed to be United) and we are praying that God would provide us a venue! Even if that is just my own living room I am confident that He will bring glory to His name as we gather to pray.
How about you? Where are you being intentional to PRAY? What can you do this week to begin, if you aren’t already? Don’t miss out on this!!! Jesus was SO clear to us!