What a Praying Church Can do For The World Today
What Can a Praying Church Can Do For The World Today?
In trying to write and learn about the power of a praying church, so much of what I read online and in books makes constant reference to the Book of Acts, which is hardly surprising. This book is of course the first and truest history of the early church and the ultimate example of the true power of a praying church. These early believers were in constant danger, but they didn’t hide, though they may often have been afraid. They prayed.
“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bondservants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”
And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29-31 (New American Standard Bible (NASB))
And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and abundant grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33 (NASB)
For, they didn’t pray for protection, even though they faced danger. They didn’t pray for food, even though they were often hungry. And they didn’t go to their homes and pray for their children, or their jobs or their gout.
On hearing how Peter and John had just been arrested and interrogated and released, they gave glory to God with one accord, and then prayed essentially for more danger, and for courage, and the Holy Spirit moved among them with grace and power. When these guys prayed walls trembled. When these guys prayed miracles happened and Christ’s church as it stands today was born through the power of prayer.
So I asked myself “What is a praying church today?”
In his study: Seven Marks of a Praying Church, Francis Dixon speaks about certain manifestations that mark a praying church. He talks about a spontaneous desire for prayer which comes as the community of the church turns away from a focus on individual problems and turns to the Lord of all problems, of all situations and of all solutions.
In a praying church the manifest glory of the Holy Spirit gives power to preach the gospel and be obedient to the calling of the Great Commission.
In a praying church there is a faith that expects and even demands miracles. Wow!
Peter Adam of the Gospel Coalition in “A Vision of a Praying Church” states:
A praying church “Knows that all it does depends directly and constantly on the power of God, and so does not finally trust in good plans, gifted people, correct theology, hard work or busyness, but on God alone.”
What can we as a praying church hope to achieve today?
Then he (Elijah) stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray You, let this child’s life return to him.”
The Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived.
Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.”
Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.” 1 Kings 17:20–24 (NASB)
So we don’t often see miracles like this happening today. Or do we?
I have just read a life changing book called Breakthrough by Joyce Smith and Ginger Kolbaba.
At 11:35 a.m. on Monday January 19, 2015, while playing with some friends on a frozen lake Joyce Smiths fourteen year old son John and two other boys fell through the ice. By the time Joyce reached the hospital where the boys had been taken by ambulance, John had been clinically dead for over an hour, and the medical team had given up all hope.
But Joyce refused to believe in death. In a loud voice she cried out to the Holy Spirit to give life back to her son. At that moment his heart began to beat again after more than an hour with no pulse and no other signs of life, and just moments before the emergency doctor was about to call time of death and remove him from all monitors.
Throughout his long recovery Joyce Smith refused to do anything but speak life over her son. An entire church prayed life over John Smith. He was not expected to survive the night. He survived. He was not expected to leave the hospital without the most severe brain damage. He walked out 28 days later and resumed a normal life, making this one of the most medically documented miracles of the century.
What can we as a praying church hope to achieve today? Well, miracles.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 (NASB)
As a praying church we can pray for the world.
We can pray in times of national and global danger.
Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”
So the Lord routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 2 Chronicles 14:11,12 (NASB)
Asa’s faith and surrender to the Lord saved a nation. When the Ethiopians invaded Judah, Asa was so greatly outnumbered that defeat seemed inevitable. But Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and he had placed himself in God’s hands, giving glory and faith to God’s good will for the nation of Judah.
The nations of the world today are facing challenges that seem overwhelming. At times it seems as if the world is on the brink of collapse. Alone we feel powerless. But as a praying church we have access to the unlimited power of the God who created the universe, and holds this world in the palm of His hand.
The size of the problems we face today mean nothing to our God. Our faith and our trust in Him mean everything. Our unity in praying for the nations today and our surrender to His great will is our faith in action, and it is our faith that moves God to act on our behalf.
When the church prays with one accord.
What is the principle of one accord? It is to be present together and in alignment with the will of God for His people and His church.
After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus the disciples returned to Jerusalem and went to the upper room where they were staying where:
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. Acts 1:14 (English Standard Version.)
The New Living Translation states that they all met together and were constantly united in prayer while the New American Standard Bible puts it this way: These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.
Through this one accord, through diligence, devotion and continuance came the great gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church.
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (King James Bible)
From the very beginning Christians were meant to change the world. The Christian church was meant to shake the very roots of the earth, and it did.
And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:7(King James Version)
The early church had amazing power and passion through their unity and their prayers, but was it meant to stop there? Are we not meant to shake the world today? When we the church, as a united global faith pray for the nations and for Christian churches across the globe it remains our birthright as Christians to shake the world and fill the earth with the glory of our Lord.