“When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them’” (Acts 4:24).
As with prayer beliefs, the Bible sets appropriate standards, paradigms or examples relating to local church prayer practices. It presents the need for both personal and corporate prayer practices within the local church. People of prayer will produce congregations that pray. Praying people who practice a lifestyle of prayer will lead the church toward unceasing “one-accord” prayer (see Acts 4:24).
Personal and corporate prayer practices permeate the Old Testament. Jesus prayed alone, with and for His followers. The early Church, as seen in Acts and in the epistles, practiced individual and corporate prayer (see Acts 1:14; 2:42). Prayer community and culture should always be the goal (i.e., house of prayer motif, Mk. 11:17). Grenz correctly comments, “Prayer that occurs in solitude reaches outward to the communal prayer that we share together. At the same time, our participation together in communal prayer lays the foundation for the praying that we do alone. . . . even in the solitude of our private ‘prayer chamber’ we continue to say ‘Our Father.’”
Our Father, Your word offers powerful examples of men and women who individually and corporately teach Your Church to seek Your face! I recognize that corporate prayer is often neglected in the Church today, even though the Christian life is a journey that happens in community with others. May I be a useful vessel to encourage other believers to pray with one another so that we will continually “lift our voices together in prayer”? Teach us to willingly share our hearts with You and to focus on the concerns of Your heart for Your kingdom.
–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.
Focus on Jn. 15:1-17 for the next few days. Praise your Father, who is the gardener of your soul. Thank Jesus for being the true vine which nourishes and gives life to the branches. Confess moments when you’ve tried to sever your relationship to Jesus in some way. Commit yourself to welcoming God’s pruning in your life despite the pain it might bring. Ask God to make you more fruitful as you live for him.
Ask that your fruit-bearing will be attractive to unsaved people you know. Pray that they will “taste [of that fruit] and see that the LORD is good” (Ps. 34:8).
“God rules the world through the prayers of his people.” —Anonymous
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Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2014 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries.