November 18th – A Praying Church



When you consider the impact of the early church on the world you can’t help being struck by the massive importance it gave to prayer. Prayer was one of the great essentials of the early church and no wonder. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, as distinct from saying their prayers. When he taught them what we now call “The Lord’s Prayer”, he was not setting out a magic formula of words to be recited, like an incantation for casting a spell. It was rather “Pray in this manner” under these guidelines. Together call on the invisible God, who is your true father. Honour him, bless his name, rejoice that you are part of his kingdom, and beg him that his rule and will are implemented in your lives and all over this rebel world. All this before you ask anything, even then don’t be greedy, be grateful for your daily bread. Since you are human, ask for forgiveness and for a spirit which forgives others as you’ve been forgiven. Ask that , when you are tempted you are led out strongly, and delivered from the evil one who wants to devour you. Then adore and praise God. If it is guidelines you want, pray like that, use that framework, and above it all recognise that prayer implies that you are in living touch with Father God, who is supernatural. Prayer itself is an activity in which humans may engage. Answers to prayer are supernatural responses from God. He may chooses to use his own rules in physical creation to answer you, or he may choose to override them. He is God. He has the power to do whatever he chooses. Prayer is the unspeakable privilege he has granted us of making our little requests known before him as we seek his face.
A prayerless church is a nonsense. It is a family which never talks or listens to its parent, nor cares about each other. On the other hand, a praying church is alive to God. No matter how God chooses to answer its prayers, that means that when as a church we truly pray, we are open to almighty-ness to wonder, to glory, to limitless possibilities.
Today read the prayer of the church which took place when Peter and John had been released from a trial before the very council which had Jesus crucified. Here is a snatch of that prayer:
They raised their voices together in prayer to God. After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4: 24 and 31
A Prayer: Lord, in your mercy, call your church today to pray like that.
Now read Acts 4: 8-31.

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Thought 4 The Day

Our salvation depends not on our love for God but His love for us, not our commitment to him but his pledge to us,
not our hold on him but his grasp of us. (Anon)

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