The Lord tells us, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). That invitation and promise sounds exciting… but perhaps you share the common sentiment: “I’ve tried praying… and it doesn’t work.” Maybe that outlook is reflected in your dissatisfaction with your prayer life, and a looming shame when the topic of prayer is on the table. How then could you even consider joining the church for prayer meeting?
Let me assure you, first of all, that prayer is not for those who have their life together, nor is it a measurement of greatness! God doesn’t listen to hear how grandiose we articulate our prayers; rather, He delights in our plain and genuine calling upon Him! It is the voice of the enemy to shame us in the quality or eligibility of our prayers. Instead, we ought to come to God as a child to his father – sometime struggling to articulate, in need of growth and understanding, but with confident access because of our personal relationship to Him!
How much more ought we to come humbly and hastily to God as a church? Jesus Himself said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). We can apply His words less so to the church building, and more to the church people, who are the temple of the Holy Spirit both individually (1 Corinthians 6:19) and corporately (1 Corinthians 3:16). The privilege of communicating intimately with God our Father in prayer is an important part of who we are! Ought that to be just a short prayer before meals, and a few short prayers during the church service?
Dear brothers and sisters, I would call upon you and urge you to know the importance of the opportunity we have weekly to pray together in a more in-depth fashion. I would love for this statement to describe Grace Baptist Church: “And with great power [they] were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). But they didn’t get there by themselves! That statement is the result of the church’s time spent praying together! They called upon the sovereign Lord (Acts 4:23), recognizing His greatness, and prayed Scripture together (Acts 4:25-26), and they asked God to do what only He could do (Acts 4:29-30). Then, they were moved by God’s power, which worked in them through their prayer, to great unity (Acts 4:32). The result? Great power and great grace as they proclaimed the good news of Jesus!
Why pray together? It’s the heart of who we are as the church: relating to one another, and relating to God together. True prayer from the heart stirs the soul. In fact, a church without prayer is a church that doesn’t commune with God. A church without prayer is a dead church. We emphasize greatly the Word of God and its ministry, but we must not miss the great significance of our response to God to call upon Him, not just with requests, but to draw near to Him according to the knowledge of Him that we have gained from Scripture. As we pray together, we grow together, and we will grow in our personal prayer as well.
Do you believe that God is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we can ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20)? Do you know that He promises to do that through the church (Ephesians 3:21)? Then will you call upon Him, to show us great and mighty things, and to do through us what only He can do?