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Heavenly Father,

We are desperate for your presence on Sunday morning! Humble our hearts and prepare us to meet you in all your glory!

In Jesus Name!

Amen!

“This is our problem–and it seems many churches simply don’t realize how little they pray together, or how little their prayers reflect the bigheartedness of God.” pray more. Not rocket science, I know.”

~ John OnwuchewaPrayer, 14.

“Hear me clearly. I have never seen successful and sustaining change take place in a church without prayer. Never. Not once!”

~ Thom S. RainerWho Moved My Pulpit36.

Who Moved My Pulpit? Leading Change in the Church   -     By: Thom S. Rainer

“History is silent about revivals that did not begin with prayer.”

~ Edwin Orr

prayer-rainer

No Prayer, No Power

The early church in Jerusalem was at a crisis point.

This time the problem was not an external foe. It was not heretical teaching in the fellowship.

It was simply a body of believers that had misplaced priorities.

The church was in danger of losing its passion for prayer.

Good Question, Bad Answer

The congregation had a legitimate question. The story is told in Acts 6:1-7. They wanted to know who would take care of the Hellenistic Jewish widows. Who in the church would take care of those widows and get them food every day? Good question. After all, the Hebraic Jewish widows were getting their food. We can’t leave out one group, the church declared, while another group gets its needs met.

It seems, though, that some were suggesting that the apostles should add this duty to their growing list of responsibilities. That was a bad answer. Still, the Twelve handled the situation well. They selected seven men of godly character to lead in this ministry. The widows were fed. The church was pleased. And the number of disciples multiplied greatly.

Crisis averted.

Fascinating Response

The particularly fascinating response in this passage takes place in Acts 6:4. The apostles said: “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.”

They could not, under any circumstances, neglect prayer or the preaching ministry. As important as pastoral care to the widows was, prayer and preaching could not be minimized.

So we leaders in churches around the world have rightly held high the priority of preaching in our churches. That clarion call should never be silent.

But it’s the first part of Acts 6:4 that we don’t see often in churches in America today: “But we will devote ourselves to prayer . . .”

Prayerlessness = Powerlessness

Did you get that? The Jerusalem church would not just have a weak prayer meeting. Prayer would not be an addendum to their worship services. Prayer would not be simply preparation for the consumption of food.

The church would be devoted to prayer.

The church at Jerusalem had power because they had prayer.

In a study we did several years ago on the most effective evangelistic churches in America, we found one of the highest correlated factors to that effectiveness was a passion for and a devotion to prayer.

It seems like we have little power in our churches today because we have little prayer.

Not just perfunctory prayer.

Not just an offertory prayer.

Not just a hospital prayer.

Powerful churches have a passion for prayer. They are consumed with prayer. They are devoted to prayer.

For the rest of the post…

“Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.”

~ Martin Luther

The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge the amount of divine working among the people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if He be not there, one of first tokens of His absence will be slothfulness in prayer!” (Charles Spurgeon)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

We live in a day characterized by the multiplication of man’s machinery and the diminution of God’s power. The great cry of our day is work, work, work, new organizations, new methods, new machinery; the great need of our day is prayer. It was a master stroke of the devil when he got the church so generally to lay aside this mighty weapon of prayer. The devil is perfectly willing that the church should multiply its organizations, and deftly contrive machinery for the conquest of the world for Christ if it will only give up praying.

R. A. Torrey (1856-1928), How to Pray, Fleming H. Revell, 1900, p. 128

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