Paul E. Miller in A Praying Life says “Prayer is nothing but talking to God.” Simple?
I suspect if you’re anything like me you probably find prayer anything but simple. It’s difficult. What should I talk to God about? How should I talk to God? When should I talk to God? Perhaps the root of the difficulty if we’re honest enough for a moment is why should I talk to God when I can seemingly live the majority of my life just fine without prayer?
Yet we all know the importance of prayer in the Christian life. We can’t accomplish anything of lasting worth without it. And there’s no human being who walked this earth who knew this truth and lived it out more than Jesus, the very Son of God. He needed to talk to his Father about everything. He even prayed for the church, including you and me, in Gethsemane (John 17) and he continues to intercede for us today (Romans 8:34)!
Why did Jesus pray for the church? Because the church is part of God’s answer to the prayer “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. God is saving a people for himself, people who have a new allegiance beyond nationality, race or creed; a people who express Christ’s supremacy over all things in the here and now – the church.
There is nothing more pressing in today’s world than to pray for Christ’s church. To pray for God’s redemptive work to be completed in the world – for the completion of his church. And for the strengthening of his church to display Christ’s glory and not be extinguished by the enormous pressure it is under from the world.
We sometimes find it hard enough praying for ourselves and those close to us, let alone praying for the church. And we might wonder what’s the point in us praying for the church. But the Bible makes it clear in Revelation 8:3-5 that God takes our prayers which are stored up in a golden censer and he chooses to use them to accomplish his purposes. We need to be praying for the church, our local gatherings in Hillview and Kintore and for our brothers and sisters scattered throughout the world.
By now I hope you’re asking what and how should I pray for the church? I’m glad you asked!
Paul gives us a model for praying for the church in his letter to the church in Colossae.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven…….And so, from the day we heard we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:3-5a, 9-14]
Will you join me in praying these seven things for Hillview and Kintore:
- Give thanks for the faith of your brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Simply name them in your prayers as God brings them to mind.
- Pray for us all to experience a much deeper relationship with God in the coming days. May we come to know and understand his will for us from the closest communion with him.
- Ask God for our individual and corporate walk to be so in step with his Spirit and so radically yielded to Christ’s Lordship that every area of our life will be fully pleasing to God.
- Pray for fruit to grow from our labours. For new life in Christ to spring up and increasing evidence of his grace in all of us.
- Ask our loving Father to give us joyful endurance and patience – a supernatural ability to get along with and love each other.
- Ask our almighty and all-powerful God for renewed strength in his power to keep going when it’s tedious and hard and for joy to still shine through in the very darkest and sorrowful of days.
- Pray for an ever-increasing thankfulness in our church to overflow in worship as we get to grips with these amazing realities – we’ve been set free from sin and darkness and are now living in the light of Christ’s rule with an imperishable inheritance ahead.
We can be sure of God’s pleasure and delight in answering these prayers so let’s keep talking to him …….ceaselessly.
Colin Deddis, July 2019