“Prayer is so fundamental to the life of the church…it’s like breathing. It is not an option. It’s the engine.” – Paul Miller
When a Christian prays, they take a firm hold of the greatest benefit of our salvation: unobstructed, confident access to our Father in heaven. It is our very lifeline — the source of both rest and revival. And it’s as simple as children running (limping, even) to their Father.
Redemption Church longs to be a praying church, and we desire that the Lord would increase that in us more and more. We pray during our corporate, Sunday gatherings. We pray for one another individually. We pray in our Redemption Communities and at various events. We pray in our leader/pastor meetings. But that doesn’t mean we pray enough. We want to be a people steeped in prayer.
On Friday, November 22nd, we will gather as one church for an all-congregational night of prayer — one church, made up of nine congregations, running to the Father. We hope you’re able to come. And, while it may be new to some of us within Redemption, corporate prayer meetings are nothing new to God’s people throughout history.
Here’s why it’s so important that we all come together for a night like this:
WE GATHER TO HALLOW GOD’S NAME
We will gather together on 11/22 to marvel at the works of the Lord, one of which is the fact of our nine congregations being present. We’ll stand in awe of his steadfast love, and his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100:4-5). While it is a night of prayer, our focus in and through prayer is not to ultimately get a more thorough understanding of prayer. Our focus is always to get God.
WE GATHER TO HUMBLE OURSELVES
Jesus told us in John 15 that we can do nothing apart from him. We believe that, and so we want to gather all our congregations together (where we’ve seen so much of what the Lord has done in and through them) to collectively acknowledge this truth, confess together where we’ve desired to do things in our strength, and ask the Lord to do so much more than we could ever hope or imagine. We’ll do this, for we know that humility (and not pride) is the what God loves.
WE GATHER TO MAINTAIN THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT & OUR COLLECTIVE WITNESS
Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” We will all gather our hearts, hands, minds, and voices for worship as prayer and prayer as worship, remembering together and reminding each other of the One we all have in common. When the church gathers, the Spirit works in unique and powerful ways that are missing in private gatherings (see 1 Corinthians 14). When a congregation collectively prays and worships, a level of accountability is established and nourished among those there to urge each other to continue to press into prayer and to remind each other to keep believing, holding firm to our confidence until the end (Hebrews 3). This night will help shape us corporately as one church, and our eagerness to maintain our unity of the Spirit will provide a great witness to a watching world to the power of the gospel, where the very manifold wisdom of God will be revealed (Ephesians 3:10).
WE GATHER TOGETHER TO REMEMBER WE’RE NOT ALONE
When you think about prayer in general, do you get the picture of an individual with their head bowed, along with their hands together? We tend to think of prayer this way — primarily a private and solitary activity. And while it surely can be, the Bible gives us a broader picture. Romans 8 reminds us that the prayers of even one Christian are the very occasion of a conversation in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all participate (Romans 8:26-27, 34). Jesus Christ, by his Spirit, is praying for our prayers. PT Forsyth says: “In this intercession, our best prayer, broken, soiled, and feeble as it is, is caught up and made prayer indeed and power with God. This intercession prays for our very prayer, and atones for the sin in it.”
By the Spirit, Jesus intercedes for our interceding. We see this as we sing, too (Hebrews 2:12). Further, Revelation 8:3-5 shows us that the prayers of all the saints are gathered together in the heavenly places and are poured out together to accomplish God’s great purposes — hardly solitary. We’re not alone. Our congregations are not alone. Redemption Church is not alone. We’ll remember that when we gather.
WE GATHER TO ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
Picture the scene of Acts 1:14 — Jesus had just ascended into heaven. Can you imagine what the disciples felt when their Lord had departed from them? We know that the first meeting for prayer after the Lord’s ascension is the one mentioned in this text, and we’re led to note that united prayer is comfort for the sorrowful. Think about it. They were sheep without a shepherd, and in their desperation, they resorted to prayer. They felt that nothing could satisfy them or strengthen them to deal with their daily difficulties like drawing near to God in prayer. And isn’t it the same for us today? As Charles Spurgeon said, “When, it may be, there are problems and divisions. When death falls upon honored members, when poverty comes in, when there is a spiritual death, when the Holy Spirit appears to have withdrawn Himself there is but one remedy for these and a thousand other evils that one remedy is contained in this short sentence, ‘Let us pray.’”
And so we will. See you 11/22.