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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 108

Corporate Prayer continued...

It used to be that individuals came together for the prayer, and stayed for the song or the sermon. It used to be that no headliner was needed to draw a crowd, no special speaker, no special music, just willing souls, individuals desiring more of God with no other agenda than to bring glory to His name and come together as one.

Times have changed, and not for the better. It almost takes an act of God, for people to get out of their comfort zones long enough to utter a halfhearted prayer, and even then there is no passion, no fervor, no agreement, no unity, just words they heard someone else speak once that seem appropriate for the occasion.

We waste such vast quantities of time on irrelevant things, and we discount and dismiss the most important things of all. Prayer, communion with God, fellowship with Him should rate somewhere high on our list of priorities, yet for many, even for many who consider themselves believers, prayer is somewhere near the bottom, next to ordering that new diet/cookbook combo that some insipid starlet or another raved about on some morning show.

It is because we are floundering, uncommitted, duplicitous, and often times selfish servants that we do not see God working as we ought in our midst, and the blame must be laid squarely on our shoulders.

Personally, I feel it’s well past time that truth was spoken unapologetically, and that the need of an individual once more trumped the want of an individual. We all want to be told we’re doing great, all is well, smooth sailing ahead, but the reality of the world we are currently living in dispels this fantasy and shatters the illusion we’ve so painstakingly fashioned for ourselves.

We need to know that hard times are ahead for all of mankind. We need to know that they day is almost upon us when the just will live by faith, and we also need to know that in the current spiritual condition most of the church finds itself in, it is nothing more than prey.

This is the reality we are living, and attempting to soften the blow, sugar coat the pill, or whitewash the tomb will be of no benefit to you. Hate me if you must, but acknowledge if only to yourself, and grudgingly so, that I speak the truth, and the signs and harbingers of the times are all around us.

If we study the word of God diligently we realize that prayer was the one constant in the lives of all those who served Him. During times of hardship, of persecution, of uncertainty and of hostility, prayer was the refuge for every believer; it was the sanctuary and safe place to which they fled time and again.

Prayer works! It is proven within God’s word, beyond doubt. Prayer stirs the heart of God, and when the heart of God is stirred, great and wondrous things take place here on earth.

Shortly after the advent of the Holy Spirit, Peter and John were arrested, brought before the religious rulers, elders, and scribes of their day and threatened, commanded to keep silent in regards to speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus.

Even though they had been threatened by some of the most powerful people of their day, Peter and John did not grow fearful, they did not tear their garments, and in humility vow never to speak of Christ again, nor did they attempt to justify their silence by concluding that they could do more good if they were free men, and in harmony with the powers that be. The disciples did not hand out petitions, they didn’t march on the Temple, they didn’t hold a protest, nor did they do any of the things that believers today tend to prefer over prayer.

After essentially telling the rulers, elders and scribes that they would listen to God rather than to them and would continue to speak the things which they had seen and heard, they sought out the brethren and in one accord raised their voices to God.

Yes, God already knew they had been threatened, He already knew their lives were in danger, yet when they raised their voices to Him, they gave a detailed account of what had occurred, and asked God to intervene by giving them boldness to preach His word.

Because they had asked, Jesus had taught His disciples the power of prayer. He had taught them how to pray, and now, when they needed to see the power of God, when they needed to be encouraged, and strengthened, when they needed to receive boldness in the face of adversity, they practiced what Jesus had taught them.

Yes, prayer is a learned skill, otherwise why would the disciples have asked Jesus to teach them how to pray? Because it is a learned skill, we can grow in our ability to pray effectively, fervently, and corporately. The more we grow, the more we understand the nuances of prayer and what is required to pray effectively, we will notice God moving on our behalf with greater frequency and intensity. It is not because we will be more deserving, but because having learned the art of prayer, having learned how to truly pray and what to pray for, the heart of God is stirred more often, and He works on our behalf more readily.

Acts 4:31, “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.”

The power of prayer is real and viable. The power of prayer transcends human ability, and often times human understanding, because the answer thereof is God territory, and whenever we enter God territory, we enter the territory of the supernatural. God is still a God of miracles, God is still a God that can shake the place where His children are assembled, who can still fill with the Holy Spirit, and who can still give us boldness to speak His word.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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