Here is a vision of a praying church:
This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one’Matthew 6:9-13
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people [1 Timothy 2:1-6].
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God [Phil 4:6].Philippians 4:6
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water [Hebrews 10:19-22].
A praying church …
- Comes to God our Father in prayer through the atoning sacrifice of Christ our mediator and high priest, prompted and taught by the Holy Spirit and his Bible.
- Relates constantly to God in prayer, praise, thanksgiving, worship, intercession, confession of sins, lament, self-offering and trust, and casts all its cares on God
- Prays for the church, for the community, for the nation, for the world, and for God’s great gospel plan.
- 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.
- Shapes its prayers and intercessions by God’s priorities, not its own needs and wants, while still being honest and open to God and brings those needs and wants to him in prayer.
- Trusts in our God who hears our prayers, and does not trust in their praying.
- Does not think that God’s ‘no’, or ‘not yet’ is an unanswered prayer.
- Which prays with long-term gospel goals for its local communities, and prays long-term for God to achieve those long-term goals.
- Which prays with long-term global gospel goals, and prays long-term for God to achieve those long-term goals: praying for missionaries, for overseas churches and ministries, and for nations.
- Which prays that God will raise up from among the congregation workers for God’s gospel harvest in Australia and overseas.
- Is where individuals pray, married couples pray together, families pray together, friends pray together, ministry teams pray together, and the church prays together.
- Is where in which people pray big prayers to our big God to achieve his big gospel plan, and also a church in which people know they can pray little prayers about the smallest details of their lives, trusting in their loving heavenly Father.
- Is where young people and new Christians learn to pray by watching the example of the church and its praying, and by joining in that praying.
- Is where people are taught how to pray as part of their discipleship, coached in their praying, and who are life-long-learners in their praying.
- Is where the church repents of prayerlessness.
- Is where people plan to pray, make time to pray, and also pray spontaneously alone and with each other.
- Is where all are encouraged to pray by the prayerfulness of others.
- Is where all know that God is always more ready to hear our prayers than we are to pray, is able to do far more than we ask or imagine, and that he will bring glory to himself in the church and in Christ Jesus.
- Is where leaders lead in praying, providing prayer leadership by example and by their encouragement to others in their prayers.
- Is a church in which the ministers are committed to ‘prayer and the ministry of the word’ [Acts 6:4].
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.Ephesians 3.14-21
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains … Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured [Colossians 4:2-3,12].
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.Hebrews 13:20.21
With warmest good wishes.
May we all grow daily in faithful prayer and thanksgiving.