Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Last week I shared a prayer that I invited people to pray every Sunday when we come together. "Lord, let me hear your voice." I actually began that by suggesting that people pray, "God, speak to me." Then I realized that God always speaks when His word is read and preached. That would be like asking Jesus to be present in a worship service. He told us in Matthew 18:20, that He is aready there.
"Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
But many things can keep us from experiencing Him. And we may be prevented from hearing His voice. So I encouraged people to pray for their hearts to be opened.
I also urged people to pray the same prayer for persons on either side of them. I would sometimes say, "You may know that person so well that you don't know where to start. But God knows. You may even be seated near someone you don't know at all. Begin by asking God to speak to them. He knows just what they need.
I challenged people make sure we had prayed for everyone in the building. I think this was our best way of welcoming others. People sensed the love of God as those around them prayed for them.
I also tried to teach people that we need to pray throughout a worship service. In Isaiah 56:7 God said,
"My house shall be called a house of prayer."
Jesus re-emphasized this in the New Testament. And the Holy Spirit recorded those words in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I believe He was applying this to the gathering of the church every bit as much as He was the Temple.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are commanded to pray without ceasing. I do not come close to doing that. But praying throughout a worship service stretches me closer to that kind of prayerfulness.
Let me suggest two facets of prayer that will bless a worship service.
THE WORSHIP OF PRAYER
Praise is an important facet of prayer. We are so blessed to sing worship songs that praise and glorify God. Ephesians 5:18 calls us to be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:19 gives us one application of that by saying we are to "make melody in our hearts to the Lord."
THE WITNESS OF PRAISE
Worship is also a means of bearing witness to those around us. The first part of Ephesians 5:19 continues the command to be filled with the Spirit,
"Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs."
When you worship, especially with music, you encourage everyone around you to glorify God. Some of them may never have sensed His presence.
Next week I want to give you a practical guide for listening to the voice of God in a sermon. I have not written it out yet, but I intend for it to be brief and easy to share and teach people in your church.