“Don’t worry about anything but instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers."
What and Why
Prayer is an expression of relationship and connection. Having entered into God’s family we have the privilege to speak to and connect with our Father all the time. The Lord loves us and he calls us to remain intimately connected to him. He enjoys this relationship so much that he has asked us to pray continually. He asks that we seek him and promises that in doing so we will find him. When we pray, God hears, responds and we see God’s hand at work.
King David inspired generations of believers with the words, “Better is one day in your house, better is one day in your courts, than a thousand elsewhere!” (Ps. 84:10) For David, connection with God was precious. He marveled at the beauty, majesty and splendor of his King. He cried out to the Lord in his moments of crisis and weakness. He gave thanks to God for his victories. He modeled constant connection with God expressed in constant prayer.
Jesus, through his sacrifice on the cross, gave us new access to the Father. Having declared, “It is finished,” the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom demonstrating that we have access to God through the work of Christ. Therefore, we enter the presence of God with confidence and a joyful heart. We know that we stand before the Lord washed whiter than snow because of forgiveness purchased by Christ’s sacrifice. Christ’s work has ensured our connection to the Father.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Sometimes our connection with God is very intimate -- we meet alone with God. Other times prayer is a community activity – we pray together. The community seeks God, meets with God, listens to God. Because God is the center of our movement, prayer is one of our central activities. It is our passion. A healthy movement prays. A healthy movement enjoys its corporate connection to the Father.
Learning from the Word
Joshua was chosen by God to lead the Hebrew nation into the Promised Land. In order to receive that land Joshua led a nation into military conflict. He battled enemies. He guided God’s people to receive their promised inheritance.
In Joshua, we find much more than a military strategist. He was a man who loved God, prayed and led his people to seek the Lord.
Read Joshua 24:1
“Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem,
and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their
judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God.”
What do you notice about the context of this story?
Read 2 Chronicles 7:14
In the New Testament we find God’s people praying together on the occasion in which the Holy Spirit was given. (Acts 2) While the people of God were corporately participating in prayer God chose to act and send his blessing. This dynamic spiritual community was devoted to prayer. (Acts 2:42)
Prayer is an essential activity of God’s community. The community that loves the Lord presents itself before him. It seeks the Lord in prayer, and prepares itself to follow God’s commands. Our movements serve the Lord in a similar way. We come to the Lord, we present ourselves and connect with him as his community. This greatly pleases the Lord.
Connecting to the Truth
In your quest to be a faithful disciple you will no doubt practice individual prayer. This lesson turns our attention to developing a community of prayer. God’s people are to present themselves before the Lord and as a family, express love and adoration to the Father. We are called to not only seek the Lord when we are alone, but also when we gather together.
We all have grown up in a cultural context that influences our thinking. In this part of the world many nations have a rich historical and cultural expression of Christianity. These cultural patterns shape the expectations of how faith is expressed. Many have noted that in their experience, the emphasis on group prayer has been weak. People are not accustomed to gather together to pray. They grew up in homes where families did not pray together. They observed that sometimes prayer seemed to be delegated to a professional – a priest, monk or some other significant person. In order to become a movement of prayer we need to ask the Lord to teach us how he wants his community to pray.
We are committed to developing movements of prayer. We know that we learn about prayer first and foremost by praying. Therefore, we rejoice when students in hundreds of universities meet in small crowded rooms in order to seek God and “present themselves before him.” We eagerly invite students to join us in prayer. We quickly invite new believers to help lead and design these prayer times. We believe that we grow by praying.
As the movement gathers, we pray for each other. We pray for the movement. We ask God to open the eyes of those who are spiritually blind. (2 Corinthians 4:4) We pray for the world. We ask that God will enable us to grow. We have thousands of reasons to pray.
In order to strengthen your movement’s prayer emphasis there are several things that you can do.
♦ First, if your movement has a time of corporate prayer, join with others in prayer. Please don’t have the attitude that if you can’t make every single prayer meeting that you will not attend any of them. Prayer meetings aren’t clubs that you join. Prayer times are for God’s children to meet together and seek his face.
♦ Second, if there isn’t a prayer group where you are, find two or three other believers and start a prayer group. As you meet other believers, invite them to join you in prayer.
♦ Third, volunteer to lead part of the prayer meeting. God will use you, instructing you how to guide your friends to seek his face. He will work in you and through you so that the community meets with the Lord and pursues his purposes.
As you lead the prayer meeting help the movement pray through the essential elements of movement building. The following questions can help prepare you:
How can the movement pray for the lost?
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