18. The Power of Prayer Copy

“Don’t worry about anything but instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers."

Philippians 4:6

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.”

Hebrews 4:16


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?


Who was present at the meeting?


What was the first thing that Joshua “led the people” to do?


The leader of God’s people brought the nation together and the FIRST thing they did was “present themselves before the Lord.” As you can imagine, Joshua probably had a long list of objectives that he needed to address at this meeting. He was responsible for governing the people, executing justice, and providing defense for the nation. Yet he started the meeting by guiding the people to God. He prioritized their relationship with God. As we present ourselves to God we prioritize prayer, worship and spiritual dependence.


In Joshua we see a leader who understood God’s priorities. Joshua effectively brought God’s message to God’s people and asked them to make a commitment.


Read Joshua 24:14-21

Click for the text

What was God’s message for his people? (vs. 14)


How were the people to fulfill this calling? (vs. 15)


What did the people decide to do?


How did Joshua provide a positive example for them to follow?


We can learn from this example of a spiritual community. They came before the Lord. They sought God’s message and instruction. They chose to follow the Lord.   Both then and now the Lord calls his people to draw near to him and pray.

Read 2 Chronicles 7:14


If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)


God shared these words with his people in an interesting context. The majority of the preceding chapter is one long prayer spoken as the people of God were gathered together. (2 Chron 6) In a context of prayer, the Lord emphasized the importance of prayer. He asked all of his people to seek him, speak to him, connect with him. God connects his promises to prayer in this text. If his people pray, God will hear, he will respond and the passage says that as a result, the land will be healed.

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.


Reasons why we pray together:


Jesus said, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)


In this passage Jesus specifically emphasized that his followers would pray together. What do you think is the reason for this emphasis?


Jesus encouraged his followers to pray. In the Sermon on the Mount he said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)


What results can we anticipate from our asking, seeking and knocking?


This diagram gives a quick visualization of movement building.  What should we be asking the Lord for as we pursue God's calling?


After encouraging us to pray, to seek and to knock Jesus underlines the character of God in Matthew 7:9-11. What do you learn about the Father in this text and how should it affect how you pray?


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.

Taking Action


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?


How can we pray for our efforts in evangelism?


How can the movement pray for its growth in discipleship? What should we be asking for regarding our own growth?


How can we be praying for laborers, leaders and new movements?


Ask God to make you a man or woman of prayer who prays with others as God has requested.



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