The Bible provides instruction on prayer’s priority and foundational role in the body of Christ. Moses, Nehemiah, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and many of the Minor Prophets all demonstrate their belief in prayer’s priority in personal and corporate life (see Ex. 33:1ff; Neh. 1:1-11; 2 Sam. 24:25; Isaiah 1, 6:1-9; Ezk. 37:1-11; Daniel 9). Paul urged Timothy to make Great Commission-centered prayer for all men first place in His ministry and in the church (see 1 Tim. 2:1-8). Jesus expects prayer to be foundational and teaches/models prayer’s priority to His followers (see Mt. 6:5-13, Jn. 17:1-24 and Lk. 11:1-6). Luke’s summary statement in Acts 2:42 shows the early church modeled and maintained the priority of prayer. Theirs was a lifestyle of prayer that seemed to permeate everything they did (e.g., 1:14, 6:1-6). This created a ripe environment, a “tropical climate” or “atmosphere” for fruitful, God-centered prayer.
The Bible ensures a proper missional and kingdom focus in prayer. In Acts, the early Church demonstrates a life of prayer-permeated witness where prayer was not only a core belief, but was also vital component or “prime-necessity” for the evangelistic mission (see Acts 1:14, 2:42, 4:23-33, 13:1-3). The temptation in church prayer is to turn inward and focus on selfish temporal desires and agendas. The Bible constantly points churches toward a prayer life that is kingdom-focused and missional at its core (see Mt. 6:9-10; John 17).
Lord God, for two thousand years, Your people have been chipping away at the task of world evangelization in order to fulfill Your command! Prayer is the foundation for reaching into the dark and grasping the hands of those whose eyes have been blinded by the enemy of our souls. Help me to clearly see my unsaved neighbors and the unreached all over the world as people You love. Give me a heart to love them as You do, and to desire to see them live eternally in heaven. Allow compassion to well up inside of me as You create that “ripe environment” for “fruitful, God-centered prayer” within me!
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 41, The Bible and Church Prayer by J. Chris Schofield). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God who has invited you into his circle of fellowship through Jesus Christ. Thank him for his invitation to love him with your whole being (Mk.12:33). Confess to God that sometimes you don’t love and honor him as you should. Commit yourself to Deut. 10:12: “To fear the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, to love him, and to serve [him] with all your heart and with all your soul.” Ask God to enable you fulfill that commitment today.
Pray that the knowledge of Christ will spread throughout the whole world, even as a tiny seed grows into a large and vigorous plant (Mk. 4:31). Pray for faithful preachers of the gospel (Mt. 24:14).
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Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2014 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries.