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Praying Together

 

Developing a Prayer Culture in the Church

 

Lesson 13 

 

Developing a Prayer Culture in the Church

 

We have taken time, in this course, to learn more in-depth, about prayer and relationships and praying-together.  Some of us, in this course, have had the experience of praying-together in our churches, or in various groups in the churches and without.  For those who have attended churches where praying-together is encouraged, it is probable that they can undoubtedly agree that Praying-Together can make a positive impact on their lives.   For others, who haven’t had this experience, I urge you to seek opportunities to experience Praying-Together when-ever and where-ever you can. 

 

In this course, we have been focusing on both the importance of developing one’s personal relationship with the Lord, and learning the value of learning to “pray-together”.  Now, in this lesson we will look at “Developing a Prayer Culture in the Church”.   To do this we will first help provide ways to identify prayerlessness in a church; then look to the bible for exhortations that encourage us to pray; and finally looke at items that do help develop a prayer culture in a church.

 

In starting this lesson, we need to recognize that many churches around us lack the elements that would describe them as a House-of-Prayer.  A True House-of-Prayer is the result of a church committed to encouraging prayer, both personally and corporately—together as a church body. 

 

A church that fails to be a House-of-Prayer, may possibly be experiencing a situation that you might call “prayerlessness”.    In this case, we may find that some of these churches often have people attending who just “do church”; others who are attending and are active “busy” church-goers; or leaders who are proud of their many programs.  Failure to encourage a prayer-culture creates a danger of a church becoming a “luke warm” church (Revelations 3:15-16).   A “luke warm” church is not a healthy church—and—Our  Lord Jesus Christ does not want His church to become this way.

 

Examining the condition of prayerlessness that can exist in a church, we often find there are symptoms of prayerlessness which are evident of that condition.  Those symptoms could be called “red flags” and those red flags are warnings that Spiritual problems can develop.  If those warnings are unheeded, they can hinder the work of the Holy Spirit with-in the congregation.  What are some symptoms of “Prayerlessness”?  Here are some of them:

 

          Symptom                                                                                  God’s Word

1

Independence from God—a failure to “look to Jesus”

Matthew 6:33

2

A disconnect from the power of Jesus

II Timothy 3:5

3

A failure to seek God’s Wisdom

Prov 2:1-9

4

A lack of humility among leaders and the congregation

II Chronicles 7:14

5  

Divisions present among the congregation—creating disunity

John 17:22

6

A failure to connect with others, and a failure to encourage them

John 13:35, I Corinthians 13

7.

A typical feeling of mistrust or lack of consideration—IE mistrust is sometime manifested as ‘not having a voice’, or not being heard when decisions are made

John 13:35

8

A host of other issues—IE gossip and complaining; a lack of Godly purpose and vision; a lack of Godly love.

Proverbs 29:18,

Revelations 3:16

 

 

When these issues are present, they are warning signs that something should be done.  Sometimes what we do in response is man’s way, to “correct” church problems.  Consider—when faced with issues arising out of “Prayerlessness” in a church, usually we have not fully sought God’s direction and we often try to “fix things” ourselves;  when this is the case we typically think that a brief prayer is all that is needed.  Another way of trying to correct an issue or a problem, is resorting to the use of “this program” or that “program” to solve” church problems.  This approach may or may not be according to God’s way especially where programs take the place of corporate church prayer-time to seek God’s help or directionsThese efforts without prayer, will fail to solve church problems.   What then can be done? It is important, foremost, that we seek God’s Wisdom and Understanding.  See Proverbs 2:3-4 and John 15:5.  Earnestly seeking God’s direction from the heart involves humbling ourselves—as a congregation—before Him. (See II Chronicles 7:14).  We should not stop there, but we should actively commit ourselves to moving forward in an attitude of humility responding God’s Way—which is to follow and obey God’s Word.  As we do this, we will begin to hear God’s Voice, and His Wisdom when we pray-together. 

 

Learning to respond in humility will help build our relationship with Christ.  As our prayer-life grows through humbleness, our responses will become more Godly.  Our concern for others and for the church needs will likewise grow.  We have learned in past lessons that prayer is a “two-way” communication—that both “talks with God”, through Jesus our Lord, and “listens to Him”.  Listening to our hearts and what is written in God’s word will help our prayer-focus move beyond our personal needs, and consider concerns and needs of others, and the church needs.  Such action takes humility and honors our Lord.  It invites Him to work on our behalf, ‘bringing us together in heart-and-mind through Christ.’

 

There are some exhortations found in the Bible, concerning Prayer and building our relationship with God that can help us.  Here is a list of some of the Exhortations: 

  • Pray for us: Jer 42:2, I Thessalonians 5:25, II Thessalonians 3:1, Hebrews 13:18,
  • Ask—we have not because we ask not—ask in accordance with God’s Word: James 4:2
  • Praise that I might perform my vows:  Psalms 61:8
  • Agree together: Matthew 18:19
  • Circumcise hearts—“put on humility”:  Leviticus 26:41
  • Treat God’s House as a ‘House-of-Prayer’:  Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13
  • Encourage one another daily: Hebrews 3:13
  • Let the Lord search our hearts and see if there be any wicked ways in us: Psalms 139:24
  • Help organize Church prayer-teams “(ask leaders’ cooperative support) IE teams to pray for VBS, Youth ministries, Music Team, Pastors, etc.: I Peter 4:11

 

Following these exhortations should encourage our hearts to respond in God’s ways, we should see much blessing as a result.

 

As we seek for God’s Holy Spirit to help us humble our hearts both individually and corporately (or praying together) and to encourage ourselves and each other, we should also be seeking the Lord for Wisdom;  further, as we become involved in helping a church turn back to prayer, here are some helps to consider to get started in Praying-Together, consider the following suggestions to encourage prayer within a church:                                                                                                                                                                                 

  1. Look for ways to experience praying                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        together, and learn to listen to the Holy Spirit of God.  An example might be encouraging a Prayer Retreat or a Prayer Conference.  Either one of these activities will give time to focus on prayer and the Church.  During this time of corporate prayer-focus, we should consider putting an emphasis on learning to “listen to the Lord”.  Listening when we pray involves:
    • Asking Him to direct our eyes to “stay on the Lord Jesus Christ”.
    • Adjusting our focus to Christ and Allowing God’s Holy Spirit to guide us, so we can pray in unity—adjusting our prayer focus to Christ’s Direction.
    • Spending time—in God’s Word, and in His Presence, allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to us.  He will lead us into to His Truth and teach us His Ways, as we                                                                                   look to Him to establish our church as His “House-of-Prayer”: Psalms 25:4-5
  2. Let the Holy Spirit work when we worship and pray.   
  3. Seek the Lord first:  Matthew 6:33

 

Remember, it will take a commitment in a church to make a major change in the focus, especially where a church has been a prayerless church for a long time..  If the church desires to become a house of prayer.  It is important that humility is a part of that desire, along with a willingness to seek the Lord.  As church becomes a place where we can pray “in love and in truth”, Exodus 34:6 (HCSB), we will find the result of much encouragement and blessing. 

 

Here are 2 Scriptures that can encourage developing a prayer focus in a church.  Seeking the Lord is best described in Matthew 6:33, where we are encouraged—to seek first the Kingdom of God.  Secondly in Psalms 1:2-3, we find a blessing that comes as a result of meditating on God’s Word. 

 

At this point, I would highly recommend reading the article titled: ‘Spirit-Charged Church’, written by Daniel Henderson.   A link is provided to the article, which clearly illustrates for us what can happen when we let God help us.

www.navpress.com/magazines/archives/article.aspx?id=21104

(You will be prompted to log-in by NavPress.  They give simple instructions for that.)

The challenge of developing a Prayer Culture in a church is a major task, but God is able to do more than whatever we can ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20).  There will be many rewards and blessings that will result from having a Prayer Culture in a church; a church that seek the Lord in humility—God wants a church that can be truly called a “House of Prayer”: Mark 11:17

 

I would encourage you also to consider a study on humility that is posted on the Wheatland Ministries blog.  It has 7 parts to the posting, and the study is an in-depth study of humility, which is worth taking the time to study.  Here is the Link: http://wheatlandministries.blogspot.com/2007/03/humility-biblical-s...

 

The challenge of developing a Prayer Culture in a church is a major task, but God is able to do whatever we can ask or think.  There will be many rewards and blessings that will result from having a Prayer Culture in a church.  A church exhibiting a Prayer Culture will seek the Lord in humility—corporately and individually—and pray—God wants a church that can be truly called a “House of Prayer”.  See Mark 11:17.

 

Reflection Questions—please take the time to answer one. 

1.  What role does exposure to/or experiencing ‘praying-together’ play in helping people accept the need for praying-together?  How can praying-together build our relationships—with God; with others? 

2.  Based on Rev 3:22, why is it important to establish a “Prayer Culture” in a church?  What is the danger of  “Prayerlessness” and its symptoms.

3.  Some leaders are not focused on corporate-prayer, but are more focused on personal-prayer, and/or crisis-prayer.  What often happens when corporate-prayer is limited in the church?  How can the “lack of” or “limited” corporate-prayer set the environment to stray from “God’s Ways”?

4.  What ways might be helpful in encouraging people to ‘see-the-need’ of a church ‘praying-together’ as a body of believers? 

5.  Have you ever experienced a “prayer-less” church?  If your answer is “yes”, after reviewing this lesson, is there one thing you could share with others about how praying-together might make a difference?

Views: 131

Replies to This Discussion

 In answer to No 3. Most leaders have been only focused on  their personal prayer lives  and need training in  that as well  because  they have been taught that we are " go into your prayer closet". Yet most pray in a crisis mode reactive response or on Sunday for  a devotion show time prayer. They have no understanding that  the prayer is not about you in the corporate prayer but for the body. Many do not want to  stay focused on a topic upon which the prayer leader has been lead to pray by the Holy Spirit.In fact one Deacon stated he did not like me to tell him what is the prayer subject and to focus on the same. I find that they the members must be4 taught on what is corporate prayer. Some pastors do not understand the true meaning of the concept either.


Linda--I liked what you shared about corporate prayer being Prayer for the Body of Christ.  Well stated!

Blessings

Praying Together in the Christmas Season--

This Thought was presented two years ago and is represented again.

Christ wants a praying church—What about a praying family?  With the Christmas season upon us, this would be a good time to and look for ways to try and apply some of our learning about praying together. 

Taking that idea, I present the following to each of you as a challenge to you to try the following:  Look for opportunities to pray with your spouse, children, family, and friends.   Take a few minutes together and remember what Christmas is about, especially about the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then encourage each person say a brief sentence prayer that is related to what they have just considered about Christmas. 

At the end- you could even sing a carol like ‘Silent Night’ and then say ‘Amen’ or just have everyone say ‘AMEN’  together, if you don’t sing.

This could be done at a meal, at a time when the family is together, or other special time. It is possible that what you do this year, you may want to do in upcoming years—could be the possible start of a wonderful family traditionand be an encouragement to all.

I will add another thought about praying together, that may encourage you.  This morning I was praying with other men. One shared how at a candle light service--how one candle lit many candles which gave a wonderful glow of light.

Consider what was happening.  One candle alone gives light, but only a few can see it, but when several candles come together, the light is brighter.  When we pray together, our light becomes much brighter because the light from our candles joining together.  That increase of light helps our path to being more easily seen--not just our path--but the path for others to see their way to Christ.

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