A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities

I received permission from Jon Graf to post the daily Connection! prayer devotions on Pray.Network.  These devotions are available as a free e-mail subscription from the Harvest Prayer Ministries website at

I have found these devotionals to be not only inspirational but also great equipping for my own prayer life.  There aren't many devotionals that are actually about prayer - most have a quick prayer at the end and that's about it.  But this one has prayer as its focus.  I thought others on the Network might be interested in it.  I will attempt to post each one daily - although I'll inevitably miss here and there. 

I have previously written a Spotlight blog post on the Connection! devotional; if you're interested, check it out here:

I hope you enjoy and benefit from this devotional as much as I have.


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Jan. 08: Avoiding the Upper Room?

I have read the Acts hundreds of times, and portions of it a few thousand times. Here is one of the plainest books in the Bible, yet I often miss or read right past what is very plain. In chapter one I read right past verse 4, in which our risen Lord gives His last and in a real sense, His most powerful, most commanding command. He actually “charged” them, a military term, “not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father” (ASV).

He literally commanded them to go to the Upper Room and to abide in prayer. And they did. In verses 14 and 15 we read that these all, about 120, continued in prayer and supplication.

Why did they do it? Because Jesus commanded it. Our trouble today is that we have not seen the Upper Room prayer meeting as a command of Jesus. We seem to have little authority when it comes to getting our churches into prayer meetings and all that God wants to do there. I have to say to congregations: “If Jesus commanded you to go to prayer meetings, would you go?” “Well, yes,” they reply, “if Jesus told me to, I would go.” “Well, He does tell you, commands you, to go. Will you go?”

The Great Commission is our mission in the Church. We hold to that, and uphold it. And here is the last, most forceful and imperative of all His commandments, and we don’t heed it, often don’t even seem to hear it. This is a great part of our problem and weakness – getting corporate prayer and revival back into our churches (Acts 1:4).

In Acts 1 we have a full account of Jesus’ last day on earth and of His last things, which are now to be our first things. His last command becomes our first responsibility.

Lord Jesus, Your command in the book of Acts is so clear, and I have been so negligent about obeying the call to corporate prayer for the sake of the fulfillment of Your Great Commission. I want to be a catalyst for revival in my church, but I can only do that as revival grips my own stubborn heart. May I begin to see Your command as my first responsibility and be faithful to seek you in the company of others! Revive my heart, my family and my church for Your glory and for the purpose of finishing the task You have set before us!

Prayer Points

Praise God for his inexhaustible goodness. There is nothing lacking or defective in him. Give thanks for all the pleasure and blessings which flow from God’s goodness. Confess any ingratitude to him. Commit yourself to God-like goodness. Ask that today you may grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).

Pray that your children will grow up in the training and instruction of the Lord and will learn to walk in his ways (Eph. 6:4).

Prayer Pointer

“When you go to your knees, God will help you stand up to anything.” —Anonymous

–Adapted from the article, The Upper Room: God’s Revival Model by Armin Gesswein. Check out With One Accord in One Place: the Role of Prayer in the Early Church by Armin Gesswein, available at Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Jan. 09: Ultimate Intercession

There is one intercessor who the Father counts on above all others. That intercessor is Jesus Christ, who “ever always lives to intercede.” His intercessory prayers undergird all the operations of the kingdom. They bring glory to the Father, bring salvation and security to the people of God, and build the church on earth. God’s plan for history moves forward because Christ intercedes. He is the ultimate intercessor. However, He does not intercede alone. Our intercessory prayers in Jesus’ name are drawn into His prayers and His prayers include ours. God counts on His Son to incorporate and reform our prayers.

A second intercessor that God counts on is the Holy Spirit. He is the indwelling intercessor whose primary intercessory activity is within us. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Spirit enables us to pray “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). The Spirit puts God’s burdens on our hearts and brings our prayers into line with God’s will. God counts on the Holy Spirit to help us pray as we ought.

Father, it continually amazes me that I am asked to participate in seeking Your heart for Your glory and the advancement of Your kingdom. What an amazing privilege and awesome responsibility! Thank You for the power of the Name of Jesus and for the indwelling Holy Spirit who continually helps me to align my prayers with the purposes of Your kingdom.

Prayer Points

Praise God that he knows everything in every age. Give thanks that he knows you by name and that you matter to him. Confess any attempt to conceal things from God. Commit yourself to openness and honesty before God. Invite him to search your heart and life (Ps. 139:23-24). Ask to be protected from the evil one and kept from a spirit of worldliness.

Since faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:15-17), pray that your unsaved friends, neighbors, and relatives will hear the Word and respond in faith.

–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend.  This book is available at Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Jan. 10: Shaking the Building

“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 4:31).

The Jerusalem church was facing a crisis. The authorities had commanded them not to preach anymore in the name of Jesus. What should they do? Their first response should be the response of every congregation of believers everywhere. They prayed. And oh, what a prayer!

These early Christians based their bold prayer on Psalm 2, acknowledging the hostility of the authorities to the Messiah, while affirming the Father’s promise to the Son that He would receive all nations as His inheritance. They boldly asked God, not to step in to protect them, but to empower them to be witnesses in the face of opposition. They even asked the Lord to confirm their message with signs and wonders.

God’s pleasure with their prayer is evident. He shook the building, filled them with the Holy Spirit (again!) and they immediately began to speak the word of God with boldness. Within weeks of this prayer meeting, even their enemies were saying that they had filled Jerusalem with their teaching (Acts 5:28).

When will the Church today pray such a prayer? In order to do so, we must be a people who are more interested in the Kingdom of God that in our own comfort. We must be more concerned about the advancement of the cause of Christ, than about our retirement benefits or bank accounts. Are you willing to pray bold prayers that stir the heart of God to change circumstances and shake buildings?

Mighty Father, teach me to pray like these early believers prayed. Help me to lay aside my fears and apprehensions and boldly pray and preach as they did. Lord, help me to not worry about opposition, but to pray in the face of it. Help me to not seek comfort and protection, so much as the proclamation of the message of Christ. Shake churches once again with Your power. Fill me again with Your Holy Spirit so that I may proclaim the word of God boldly.

Prayer Points

Praise God for the depth of his wisdom and knowledge, and for his unsearchable judgments. Thank God for guiding and directing your ways. Confess any resistance on your part to do his will. Commit yourself to acknowledging him in all your ways (Prov. 3:5-6). Ask God for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better and have the eyes of your heart enlightened, to know the hope to which you are called, the riches of his glorious inheritance (Eph. 1:17-18).

Pray for the Spirit of love in your church that believers may be one, even as the Father and Son are one, so that the world may believe that God sent Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:21).

–Adapted from Revolution on Our Knees: 30 Days of Prayer for Neighbors and Nations by David and Kim Butts. This book is available at Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Jan. 11: Children of Revival

During the Great Awakening in Scotland, prayer meetings often began with children, then spread to adults. For example, a schoolteacher in the parish of Baldernock allowed four students to meet on their own for prayer and psalm singing. According to The Parish of Baldernock, “In the course of two weeks, ten or twelve more [children] were awakened and under deep convictions. Some of these were not more than eight or nine years of age, and others twelve or thirteen. And so much were they engrossed with the one thing needful as to meet thrice a day-in the morning, at mid-day, and at night.”

Adults then began holding prayer meetings two or more times a week. There were many conversions at both the adult and the children’s meetings. The fervor soon spread to other parishes. The Parish of Kirkintillock reports: “In the month of April, 1742, about sixteen children in the town were observed to meet together in a barn for prayer. Mr. Burnside [their pastor] heard of it, had frequent meetings with them, and they continued to improve. And this being reported, many more were impressed. Soon after, about a hundred and twenty [children] were under a more than ordinary concern, and praying societies, as usual, were formed.”

The reaction to that awakening was to affirm and support the prayers of children. “Why not encourage children’s prayer-meetings? Why may not God still perfect praises to the glory of his grace, out of the mouth of babes?” people asked.

Jonathan Edwards also encouraged children’s prayer. In answering objections some critics had raised to children’s prayer meetings, he wrote, “God, in this work, has shown a remarkable regard to little children; never was there such a glorious work amongst persons in their childhood, as has been of late in New England. He has been pleased, in a wonderful manner, to perfect praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings; and many of them have more of that knowledge and wisdom that please him, and render their religious worship acceptable, than many of the great and learned men of the world. I have seen many happy effects of children’s religious meetings; and God has seemed often remarkably to own them in their meetings, and really descended from heaven to be amongst them. I have known several probable instances of children being converted at such meetings.”

Loving Father, from the mouths of children and infants, You have ordained praise! Forgive us for the glaring neglect of the spiritual development of our youngest ones! Raise us up as mentors and godly examples, but give us the humility to learn from children how to seek after Your heart and hear Your voice. Keep us from the temptation to entertain or to engage our children in spiritual fluff when You have created them for so much more! Help us to be intentional about nurturing the prayers of children and to resist our fears of coming together before You as the intergenerational Body of Your Son, Jesus Christ!

Prayer Points

Praise God for keeping his covenant promises to you. Give thanks that you have always been able to count on him in all circumstances. Confess any doubt you have had concerning God and his promises. Commit yourself to trusting the Lord and taking him at his word. Ask for his peace which transcends understanding to guard your heart and your mind in Jesus Christ.

Pray that those who instruct within the church may be able to correctly handle the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).

Prayer Pointer

“Embark upon no enterprise you cannot submit to the test of prayer.” —Anonymous

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 45, Prayer Meetings and Revival in the Church by Joel R. Beeke). This book is available at Use the code CONPSP3at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Jan. 12: Awakening God’s People

Five major traits characterize the great historical awakenings. First, the awakenings were preceded by gross moral and spiritual declension in the church. The church ceased to be a great lighthouse for a world in a stormy sea and was drowning in the waves of immorality and impurity. Because her eyes were filled with impurities, she could not see God in His splendor and majesty.

Second, God would, at the darkest moment, breathe on the hearts of a few individuals. They would begin to seek His face, and a revival of prayer would result. The Holy Spirit would show men and women the utter necessity of absolute dependence upon God.

Third, a visitation of God’s presence would come among God’s people. A fresh breath of life blew into the churches—the life of God in the hearts of His people. A new sense of purity of character grew among God’s people. The church experienced the holiness of God, and Christians were conformed into the image of Christ.

Fourth, a reaping of a great evangelistic harvest occurred—a renewal of the preaching of the old truths of the Bible. Pastors and evangelists preached the holiness of God, the corrupted nature of man, and Christ as God’s only provision for man’s sin. They preached that Christ must be received by faith and that man must be born again. They preached against sin and set forth the extraordinary love of God. And God gave the increase. The greatest times of evangelism took place during the great spiritual awakenings.

Finally, growth in the church resulted, and new movements and ministers were thrust into world evangelism. There were lasting results; the fruit remained. Although there were some excesses in each movement, in general the church made great strides in building the kingdom of God.

Grace-filled Father, I see the signs of moral and spiritual decline all around me, and I struggle in my own life towards the holiness of Christ! Open my eyes so that I can see the pitfalls of sin before I step blindly into them! Breathe on my heart as You have done in the past and form me into the image of Your lovely Son. Renew my heart with a deep desire to follow and teach Your Word, and to proclaim it boldly. Help me to show Your extraordinary love for all those You place in my path. Wake me up and wake up Your people to live out the life of Christ in such a fruitful way, that Your kingdom will explode into life all around us!

Prayer Points

Praise God for the beauty of his holiness (2 Chron. 20:21). Give thanks that he has removed the stain of sin from your life and made you holy. Confess any sin or unholiness that taints your life. Commit yourself to being holy, as God is holy (1 Pet. 1:16). Ask that you may be made holy through and through so that your spirit, soul, and body will be kept blameless (1 Thess. 5:23).

Pray for families undergoing severe marital strife, asking that God will rekindle a flame of love between husband and wife.

Prayer Pointer

“God eagerly awaits the chance to bless the person whose heart is turned toward him.” —Anonymous

–Adapted from The Prayer FactorAdventures with a God Who Hears and Answers by Sammy Tippit. This book is available at Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.

Jan. 13: Pray about Prayer

The Bible tells us that unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor, labor in vain. That is especially so when we are speaking of a local congregation that becomes so impacted and driven by prayer that it truly could be called a house of prayer. God’s Word contains no blueprints for building a house of prayer. Looking about at various congregations that are known for their strong focus on prayer also leaves us without a clear pattern. Each of these churches seem to have grown and developed in prayer according to its own corporate personality and distinctiveness. Most of us who work in helping churches grow in prayer have studiously avoided any cookie-cutter methodology. The Divine Builder seems to be custom-building His houses of prayer.

Still, there are principles that are true in all prayer-driven churches. Discovering and implementing those principles should help any congregation move toward the goal of seeing prayer become pervasive throughout the Body.

The simplest and most basic of those principles is that we should pray about prayer. Several years ago I was with a group of prayer leaders who met with the staff of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, certainly a fine example of a house of prayer. In the midst of the conversation, the question arose of how the congregation had begun and continued this journey of prayer. The answer was swift: “We asked God to pour out a spirit of prayer.” Though we tried to talk about methodologies, the staff of Brooklyn Tabernacle were adamant in their answer: “We must pray about prayer.” If we truly believe that the Lord is the Builder of His house of prayer, then it makes sense that we come to Him first.

The formation of a prayer team to simply pray about the church becoming a house of prayer may well be the most important step to transform a local Body. In Zechariah 12:10 we read of a spirit of prayer being poured out upon a whole city: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication.” Use that passage to begin to pray for that spirit of prayer to fall upon your congregation.

Lord Jesus, pour out a spirit of grace and supplication upon me and upon Your Body the Church! Build us and transform us to become a house of prayer for all nations! I long to be a dwelling place for Your Spirit as You shape me into a purpose-filled, kingdom-advancing disciple! May Your house be known for and characterized by prayer that delights Your heart and moves Your hand!

Prayer Points

Praise Jesus Christ for his grace and beauty. Thank God for reproducing the beauty of Christ’s character in you. Confess anything in your life which is displeasing to God. Commit yourself to pleasing him in every way. Ask God to help you live a life worthy of the Lord, to please him in everything you do, and to bear fruit in every good work (Col. 1:10).

Pray that all God’s people will be able to stand against the principalities, powers, and the world rulers of darkness that seek to control the lives and destinies of people. Pray that they may put on the whole armor of God and may pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests (Eph. 6:10-18).

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 44, How to Build a House of Prayer by David Butts). This book is available at Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.



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