The power of a praying church – Part 1
One of the greatest weapons at the disposal of the church is the mighty name of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 2:9-11). With the church are unfailing promises of God, which are yea and amen’ in Christ Jesus. Also, is the presence of the Holy Ghost who administers all the resources of the Godhead through the church to fulfil His eternal purpose.
The church is God’s agency on earth that demonstrates His love, wisdom and power. The church employs prayer to make effective the word, the name, and the Spirit in fulfilling her God-given goal. God listens to the church. God works within and through the church. He dwells in the Church. Jesus said, “Upon this rock (Himself) I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”.
When therefore, saints unite in prayer, the power is awesome and the effect is unimaginable. Conversely, the Church stands powerless, bewildered, ineffective and threatened by the religious and political world around her without the instrumentality of prayer. With prayer, the church becomes a formidable force that the adversary cannot subdue.
The early church was a praying church. Our text shows a vivid picture of a typical prayer meeting of the church. Their prayer was founded on the scripture (Psalm 2). They prayed the word. They asked for boldness to preach the word in spite of opposition and that signs and wonders be granted unto them to confirm their word. They prayed to God through Christ and by the Holy Ghost. Their prayer enjoyed swift response from God who answers prayer. Prayer was [is) the climax of the response of the believer to oppression, injustice, persecution, suffering and weakness.
As we examine the prayer meeting of the early church, we shall uncover golden characteristics that could serve as bedrock for prevailing church prayer meeting. The following could serve as blueprint for the church:
(a) Saintly gathering (Acts 4:23; 2:1; 12:5,12; 2 Peter 1:1). The persecuted disciples “went to their own company” and a corporate prayer ensued after their report. The gathering of the church for prayer must take into cognizance men of “like precious faith” since “God heareth not sinners”.
(b) Singleness of heart (Acts 4:24; 2:1; 1:14,15; 2 Chronicles 5: 11-14). The fact that “they lifted up their voice… with one accord” emphasizes unity of heart and singleness of purpose required for effectual corporate praying. They were there for the same thing, the one thing.
(c) Scriptural prayer (Acts 4:24-28; Psalm 2; John 15:7). They approached the Lord based on His word. Effective praying employs God’s promises. They are never failing.
(d) Specific requests (Acts 4:29,30; 14:3;3:6,16). Amid the storm of opposition, the Church prayed not for the destruction of their foes but for: (i) boldness to preach the word; (ii) healing by the outstretched hands of God; (iii) signs and wonders in Jesus’ name. Petitions in our prayer meetings should be specific and in faith.
(e) Spiritual fervour (Acts 4:24,31; John 16:23,24; Jude 20; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 6:18). They prayed to God through Christ by the Holy Ghost. The prayer meeting was fervent and Spirit-led.
(f) Sure response (Acts 4:31; I John 5:14,15). In answering assurance to their prayer, the Holy Spirit was bestowed and power of utterance exercised.
Prayer strengthened the early church just as the Holy Spirit inspired the Church to speak the word of faith, which no one could resist or gainsay. There must be assurance of faith for answer to prayer whenever we gather to seek the Lord.Further Reading (King James Version): Acts 4:23-31; 13:1-3; 1:12-14; 2:1-4. Acts 4:23-31; 12:12; 13:1-3;1:15; John 9:31; Ephesians 6:18; Matthew 21:22.
No comments yet