This Sunday, May 14th, at 9:15am, our church is creating a new opportunity for a time of corporate prayer. Why is corporate prayer important in the local church? Why should I attend a corporate prayer meeting in the local church?
Corporate Prayer: The Example
The call to corporate prayer begins with the example of the early church. In Acts 12, Luke records the account were King Herod had the Apostle Peter arrested and imprisoned. In Acts 12:5, Luke recalls that prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God (emphasis added). After Peter is miraculously rescued from prison by and Angel of the Lord, he went to the home of Mary where he finds the church praying for him and surprised at his release.
This instance is one of many where the early church established the model of corporate prayer. Before the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 1 the disciples, about 120, were gathered together praying. After the Day of Pentecost, Luke records in Acts 2 that the early church was continuing to devote themselves to prayer. The early church set the model for the local church today, corporate prayer is an essential part of this new community of believers.
Corporate Prayer: The Command
As Timothy is shepherding the church at Ephesus he receives two letters from the Apostle Paul, 1st and 2nd Timothy. These letters are called the Pastoral Epistles because much of their content is directed towards the principles and duties of the pastors and elders and their responsibilities in leading the local church.
In 1st Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul calls Timothy and all men to pray. Paul specifically commands Timothy that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings were to be made on behalf of all men. Paul also instructs Timothy to call “all men in every place” to pray. While the early church set the example and model, the leaders of the local church were to emphasize corporate prayer in the context of the local church.
Corporate Prayer: The Reality
One of the primary purposes of the local church is to gather together for worship. The church worships God corporately through fellowship, singing, preaching and prayer. The very essence of prayer is worship. For, when Jesus teaches us how to pray in the Disciples’ Prayer, the very first line of his prayer reads; “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). Prayer, when filled with praise and adoration to God of his character, nature and promises becomes a worship experience. This worship experience through prayer must be a part of the local church for its very purpose is to gather for worship.
Corporate Prayer: The Opportunity
In light of the example, command and reality, our desire is to purposefully create a time where we as a church can gather for a time of prayer. This Sunday, at 9:15am we will gather for corporate prayer. The time will be led by men in our church and include the following aspects:
1) A short devotion that instructs us concerning prayer and how to pray.
2) Small group prayer time led by men in our church.
3) Praying through specific prayer requests that are predetermined and pertain to the church body as a whole.
In addition, this prayer time is open for those who may just want to learn more about prayer and observe others praying. There are many who do not feel comfortable praying; however, if that is the case we encourage you to attend to learn more about prayer, see it modeled and be blessed by listening to others praying in our church body.
Posted on:May 9, 2012