• Prayer Sell


    It is striking to notice the contrast between the prayer typical of most of us and the prayer exemplified in the pages of Scripture.  It seems that the mainstay of the prayer diet of the believer involves matters related to self.  A main course of petitions, side expressions of thanks, sprinklings of praise, a periodic cleansing sorbet of confession all tend to do with self.

    Not to question the legitimacy of such practice.  We are called to cast our cares upon the Lord.  That call brings us to the table of communion with our God, in the fellowship of the Spirit.

    But the preponderance of prayer in the Bible seems to have more to do with the kingdom of God.  Jesus’ instruction on prayer carried the tone of advancing the kingdom of God.  Paul’s examples of prayer in Ephesians and Colossians have to do with the kingdom of God.

    To appreciate God’s design for prayer both facets need to be understood and practiced.  We want to cultivate fellowship with our God in its panoply of expression.  But we do not want to neglect the mandate of our God to labor on in prayer for the sake of His kingdom.  Even where we do apprehend prayer rightly, the Scriptures bring great breadth to the subject, enriching and enlivening our prayer lives.

    God’s people need to be discipled in the full light spectrum of prayer that it might invigorate the soul and shine the light of splendor of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  Such discipleship is achieved not merely by instruction in precept but also by engagement in practice.

    I have been doing a bit of study on what it means for the church to be a “house of prayer.”  Is that something that applies to the new covenant church as it did the temple?  What might we see when we look in the windows of a house of prayer in action?

    I plan to share the fruits of my study in a five-part series on this blog entitled, “God’s House of Prayer—Extreme Makeover Edition.”  My contention is that it is incumbent upon every church that it see itself as a house of prayer and engage itself accordingly.  Being a house of prayer is an overlay to whatever vision a local church may embrace.  The leaders must cultivate a culture of prayer.

    In my series I anticipate suggesting a variety of ways by which a local congregation can carry out its calling as a house of prayer.  By way of preface, however, I can say at the outset that believers need our understanding of prayer broadened and sharpened.  The wonder of God’s design in prayer will breathe zeal into our prayer lives.

    How to get people on board with such a building project requires what we might call a “prayer sell” to our congregations.  Many believers are not convinced of the urgency and necessity of prayer, if their dedication to prayer is any indicator.

    I would like to suggest the idea of prayer cells as a prayer sell to cultivate a culture of prayer.  The purpose of the prayer cell is to disciple believers in prayer through instruction and participation.

    Prayer cells are nothing new.  However, prayer cells for the purpose of discipleship in prayer may be new to our thinking.  These groups would serve as an orientation, a training forum to get those of a local church on the same page in respect to prayer.

    I plan to explore prayer cells in the last section of my blog series on “God’s House of Prayer—Extreme Makeover Edition,” but for now I just lay the idea before you.  Each hour meeting would involve a 10-minute reading and discussion of a section of my booklet Why Do We Pray? to provide training in prayer. The 50-minute remainder of the hour would involve actual prayer centered around three areas: sharing, Psalm and sermon.

    Whatever approach we take, we must seek our God to make us a house of prayer and explore ways to make it happen by His hand.

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