WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 07, 2023
TOPIC: THE POWER OF A PRAYING CHURCH
BY T. O. BANSO
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31 New King James Version).
One of the main features of the early church was its effectual corporate prayer life. The church didn’t just come together to pray; the believers prayed and got manifestations of answers. The joy of prayer is not in speaking the Queen’s English or the drops of sweat from our bodies but in the answers we receive.
We need a praying church, not a church that talks about prayer or announces its intention to pray. We need a church that really prays. Someone says the church is praying already. Maybe it is true. But maybe we need to pray more. Or perhaps we need to pray the way the early church prayed to get more answers than we’re getting now. I’m not talking about individuals praying.
Prior to the Day of Pentecost, when believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:12-13 says the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olive and went up into the upper room where they were staying. Verse 14 adds that all the eleven apostles listed, met together continually for prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. They prayed!
According to Acts 2:1, the believers were meeting together in one place when the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost. Although the Bible does not tell us what they were doing, Acts 1:14 already told us that they all met together continually for prayer. Therefore, probably the believers were praying at the time the Holy Spirit came.
Acts 2:2-4 says, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (New King James Version).
It is possible that if Jesus’ followers had not been praying continually, the coming of the Holy Spirit could have been delayed. How many things are being delayed today, because the church is not praying as it should? Yes, Christians have prayer meetings but do we pray according to the will of God?
1 John 5:14 says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (New King James Version). Evidently, God can’t answer prayer points that are unbiblical or against His will. The church must pray in line with the Word of God, His will. We should not pray prayer points that only excite people but don’t attract answers from heaven. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (New International Version).
In Acts 4, the Jewish highest ruling body, the Sanhedrin, had charged Peter and John not to speak or teach again in the name of Jesus. However, they replied that they would rather obey God than men, as they could not but speak the things they had seen and heard. They returned to their companions and they raised their voice to God with one accord. They didn’t pray that they should not be arrested or killed but that they would speak the Word of God with boldness.
Verse 31 says, “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (New King James Version). Did you see that? That’s the power of a praying church.
Comparing the modern church and the early church, Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994), one of England’s foremost outdoor evangelists, said, “Our accent is on paying; theirs was on praying. When we have paid, the place is taken; when they had prayed, the place was shaken!” Did you see that? This is still true of the church today. They prayed; we paid! Their strength was in praying; our strength is in paying!
In Acts 12, after Herod had killed James the brother of John with the sword and saw that it pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter also and put him in prison, hoping to bring him before the people after Passover. However, constant or earnest prayer was offered to God for him by the church (verses 1-5).
The church, praying for Peter, was so lost in prayer that after the angel had delivered him from prison and he was at the door of the venue of their prayer meeting, the believers were still praying. God answered their prayer faster than they had expected! Suppose Peter was locked up in prison in our day! Could he depend on the church to pray the kind of prayer that would secure his supernatural release?
The church didn’t hold a meeting to discuss Peter’s condition and deliberate how to send a delegation to Herod to beg for Peter’s release! The church prayed earnestly for God to release him, and He did. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God to destroy the devil’s stronghold (2 Corinthians 10:4).
If only the church today will pray as we should! If only the church will pray according to the will of God, not according to the will of the pastor or the members! If only the church will be persistent in prayer like the friend in Luke 11:5-8 and the widow in Luke 18:1-8! “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9 New King James Version).
The church as a body, and every Christian assembly, must continue steadfastly in prayer (Colossians 4:2). The only available alternative, which is no alternative, is to surrender to Satan! God forbid.
Believers must pray individually and privately but we must also come together to pray – pray persistently in unity, faith, and agreement with the Word of God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help the church to be devoted to prayer and pray according to the will of God. The church shall no longer complain about what we should pray about in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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