Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18: 19-20
On Wednesday, September 24th we will begin a new ministry of corporate prayer at Magna View, The Church Called to Prayer. At 6 pm, the sanctuary will be open for the body of Christ to gather to pray. We will pray to draw nearer to Christ, we will pray for the unity of the Body of Christ, we will pray for the ministries and needs of our church, and we will pray for a great spiritual awakening and revival in our church, community and our world.
Over the years at Magna View we have had various seasons when we would place a greater emphasis on prayer, but focused, corporate prayer has been lacking in recent years. Though we pray in our classes and groups and briefly in our worship service, as a whole body we often spend more time talking about prayer requests than actually praying. For the past year or more, the Lord has been stirring my heart to do something different, and recently a church member came to me to share what the Lord had laid on her heart about The Church Called to Prayer. The Lord confirmed in my heart that it was time for the church to be called to prayer; to a time where we prayed more than we talked about it.
There are a lot of reasons not to have another meeting, even a prayer meeting.
- People are busy and getting the church (the people) together, even for prayer, is a challenge.
- Wednesdays are often a challenge for families to eat and be at church by seven, much less by 6pm for prayer meeting.
- We pray at home with our families, in our Bible study classes and in groups, is it really necessary to try to get together with more people to pray?
- Historically, prayer meetings are the least attended services of the church; should we be trying to do something that maybe only a few people will attend?
Believe me, I have thought of all of them. And I really only have one reason to try to have a corporate prayer meeting… God calls the church to pray together. In the Model Prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray “Our Father…” (not “my Father). Though in the New Testament the word “church” always refers to people, not a place or a building, in Mark 11, after clearing the Temple of the money-changers who were cheating people, Jesus quoted Isaiah and declared, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations…'” The Temple was to be a place of corporate prayer for all nations, and I believe the building that God has given us to worship in and serve in, should also be a “House of Prayer for all nations.”
The early believers prayed together for guidance after Jesus returned to His Father in Acts 1 (vs. 14 and following). The Church was also birthed out of the corporate prayer meeting in Acts 2. We also see other prayer meetings of the church recorded in 4:23-31, and in Acts 12:5,12. In each case, people did not just pray privately in their closets, but met together for corporate prayer. The results were incredible in each case. The early church understood the need for extended times of corporate prayer that were separate from and in addition to the regular corporate worship.
Historically, great moves of God have resulted from the Church gathered in corporate prayer. (You can read more about the history of prayer and revivals here. Furthermore, corporate prayer greatly deepens church unity – the people you feel the closest to, are the people you pray with the most. And most importantly, through them the Bride of Christ most intimately communes with her Lord, and receives grace from Him.
Pastor Max Doner says, “The spiritual condition of a church may be accurately gauged by her prayer meetings. If the spirit of prayer is not in the people, the minister may preach like an angel, but little will come of it. May God fill our prayer meetings with His presence, His power, and His Spirit, as His people gather to bow in His presence and seek His mercy and grace.”
Because this is a new opportunity I know there are numerous questions. I’ve tried to answer a few of them here:
Will I have to pray with other people or pray aloud?
No, you will be free to pray alone. Though near the end of the prayer time, we will call the participants to the altar to pray together, for the majority of the time you are free to pray alone, with a prayer partner or in a small group as you feel led. Though I will sometime call on people to close out in verbal prayer, I will only call on those I know are willing to pray aloud.
Do I have to be there right at 6 pm?
No, the sanctuary will be open at 6pm but you are welcome to come when you are able. The majority of the time will be individuals praying alone or in groups, and I will call the groups together near the end of the prayer time.
How will I know what to pray for?
While individuals may come with prayer burdens and concerns, there will be a written prayer guide with the prayer needs of the church and community to help guide the prayer time. The guides are optional, but will be useful.
If I have a special need and desire someone to pray with me, will there be someone available?
Yes, for now I will be available during the prayer time to pray with anyone who has a special need or burden. As others feel led to be prayer leaders, more people will be available to pray for others.
Will I there be a time that I can share my prayer requests?
Yes and no. Paper and pen will be available for anyone to write out their prayer requests that will be passed on to the church at a later time. But there will not be a time of verbally taking prayer request during the corporate prayer time. If you have requests that you would like prayed for on Wednesday, you should write them out on Sunday and put them in the offering plate, or contact me before Wednesday night.
If there is not a good response to the Wednesday prayer service, will you discontinue it?
No, we will only discontinue it if the Lord says to stop. The success of the new opportunity will not be based on how many attend, but on our obedience to the Lord who calls the church to pray.
You may have other questions about the prayer service; please feel free to email me or text me with your questions. I look forward to praying with you on Wednesdays.