Foundations of the Church - #3  PRAYER

We need to be a "House of PRAYER"

Matthew 21:13 "And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."

The greatest reputation of the Lord's House should be the "house of prayer." Churches have reputations as a great singing church, a great preaching church or a great programs church.

But how long has it been since someone referred to a church as a "praying church?"

"Every congregation and all believers everywhere need united agreement in prayer and faith. True, we can pray privately, but we must also come together with the church expecting to find one accord in prayer. The church in Acts began in one accord in prayer (Acts 1:14; 2:1). United prayer was a top priority of the apostles and the people (Acts 6:4; 4:18-33; 12:1-25; 15:1-30). United agreement in prayer is necessary because of who we are.

"The church is dying on its feet because it is not living on its knees.

Prayer simply defined is:

Prayer is communication with God.

  It is communion with Him. 

He desires heart to heart communion with us as individuals and as a group.

"THE FIRST CHURCH WAS A PRAYING CHURCH  

 Acts 1:14  "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication" Prayer must be a continuing activity in the church.

 Acts 1:24  "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen," Prayer seeks to know Gods choice.

 Acts 2:42  "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Prayer must be an established, permanent, steadfast and unmovable function of the church.

 Acts 3:1  "Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer" Prayer must have a permanent place in the schedule of the church. Prayer must have a priority and not be pushed around or pushed out of the way to make room for something we want to do.

 Acts 4:31 "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" Prayer is necessary to maintain the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Many of these believers were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost

 Acts 6:4 "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." Prayer is the balance to the Word. The study of the Word prepares the message but through prayer the messenger is prepared.

 Acts 6:6 "Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them." Prayer before we lay hands on others makes sure that Gods hand is on us first.

 Acts 7:60 "And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep." Prayer is the way to live but it is also the way to die.

 Acts 9:40 "But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up." Prayer is the means by which miracles take place.

 Acts 10:9, 11 " Peter went up upon the housetop to pray and saw heaven opened" Prayer is the place where we see heavenly visions.

 Acts 10:30 "And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing," Prayer and fasting takes us beyond seeing what is physically seen and we see into the unseen realm of the Spirit.

 Acts 12:5 "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." Prayer in the book of Acts church was more than a "name it and claim it" thing but it was a fervent and earnest spiritual warfare of intercession.

 Acts 12:12 "he came to the house of Mary the mother of John where many were gathered together praying." Prayer involves coming together to pray so that we can agree together.

 Acts 13:3  "And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." Prayer and fasting should be done before we send missionaries, evangelist and anyone that goes out from the church to minister. This would make a difference when we send our youth on a mission trip. Rather than gather around the van and pray as they are driving off, we should have a time of prayer and fasting and then lay hands on them for ministry.

 Acts 14:23 "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." Prayer and fasting should accompany the appointment of every leader in the church.

 Acts 16:13,16 "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither."  "as we went to prayer." Prayer could be found by the river side or in a house because if believers are there, whatever else might be happening prayer would be a part of it.

 Acts 16:25  "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." Prayer and singing go together but singing must never become a substitute for prayer. Singing praises compliments our prayers with the expressions of faith.

 Acts 20:36  "And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all." Prayer was practiced by Paul when he was leaving friends behind.

 Acts 22:17-18 "And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance. And saw Him saying unto me, make haste..." Prayer sometimes gives warnings and directions for our safety. Here Paul was told to leave Jerusalem quickly.

 Acts 28:8  "And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him." The Prayer of faith that heals the sick must never lose it's place in the ministry of the church.

"Prayer is a God ordained means to accomplish God ordained ends."  Erwin Lutzer

"Prayer is not convincing God to do something He doesn’t want to do, but laying hold of His highest willingness."  Erwin Lutzer   Hos. 7:14 (wail but won’t pray)

"Prayer is nothing more than digging out the treasures that God has laid out for us."  – John Calvin

"The little estimate we put on prayer is evidence from the little time we give to it."  E.M. Bounds

John Bunyan’s famous treatise.   His definition of prayer is clarifying and helpful.   "Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to the Word, for the good of the church, with submission, in faith, to the will of God."

It's time to Pray Church!!!

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This devotion on PRAYER is also available FREE in an audio sermon (44 minutes) at:  

http://sermon.net/download.php?c=13400-count_audio_download-127919

To listen to any of my sermons go to: http://sermon.net/biblefood

Next devotion we will look into the Foundation #4 - FELLOWSHIP.

 In His Service,

Jim Mazzulla (jim@biblefood.org)    Website: www.biblefood.org