Sermons & Sunday Schools

The Four-Fold Purpose of the Church: Devoted to “the Prayers”

In this sermon, Pastor Babij preaches on corporate prayer and why it should be a priority for believers. Pastor Babij stresses why prayer requires putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-19) as well as understanding correct doctrine. Pastor Babij also identifies five temptations congregations must resist when praying together:

1) Canceling regularly scheduled prayer times
2) “Trying prayer,” and then abandoning when you do not get what you asked
3) Individualizing what God has made a corporate act
4) Assuming you know how to pray
5) Measuring success in prayer based upon numbers in a meeting

Full Transcript:

I have been looking at what it means to be a Christian, what it means to actually be a Christian after conversion. One of the things that we see in verse 42 is that when they became converted to Christ, they were continually devoted to several things. We already saw the first thing they were devoted to, and continue to be devoted to, is teaching from the Word of God, the apostles’ teaching. Then the second thing was to the fellowship, the gathering together of believers that was so vital in the organization and the strengthening of the church. And it still is today, of course. A third thing was to the breaking of bread, the Lord’s Table, being partakers of that, focusing in on the two elements that always show us what the gospel is. The bread represent the enfleshment of Christ, and then the blood where He sacrificed for those who would believe in Him. From that, it goes into verse 42, they were devoted to prayers, or to the prayers.

Doctrine, in other words, informs us about the nature and the practice of prayer. In other words, doctrine leads to devotion in the prayers of the saints. The prayers are the foreseeable conclusion to true doctrine. It becomes very important for the Christian.

Now, there was a book that I referenced that was written in 1957. It was called “The secret weapons of World War II”. In that book, it gave some fascinating stories about scientists that developed all kinds of secret weapons for the British troops. Of course, the Americans did it. Others did it too. This group of people ended up being called the wheezers and the dodgers. They were key players in inventing secret weapons. Two of such weapons were the hedgehog mortar that was used against German submarines. Another one was called the Holman Projector, compressed air grenade launcher. These particular secret weapons were actually employed against the enemy during World War II.

The second one of these that the weezers and dodgers invented, this Holman Projector, they called it the first potato launcher. In other words, the Holman was really a smoothbore muzzle-loaded gun connected by pipes to the ship’s steam boiler. It was not energized by any kind of gunpowder because the gunpowder was so rare during World War II that they had to improvise and come up with a different method to launch these projectiles from this particular gun. It was really given to civilian ships, because when the civilian ship found itself under attack, which often was under attack during World War II, the crew would pull the pin and drop a hand grenade down the barrel of the Holman Projector. Then the gun crew would frantically aim at the enemy airplane, and of course stomp on the pedal and release the boiler steam. And it would launch and hopefully they would hit the target.

Now, of course, it probably wasn’t that accurate. But this particular group of people and these civilians in these ships that were under attack had this secret weapon. They actually shot two aircraft out of the air by using this particular weapon. It became the most popular makeshift ammunition shooter in the Royal Navy. Of course, you can understand why. And of course many stories went along with it because it didn’t always work like it was supposed to. Sometimes they would shoot the grenade out and it didn’t have enough steam to push it out, so it would drop on the deck. And of course, you know what happens then. Everybody was frantically trying to find it and throw it overboard and get it out of there before it went out because the grenade has about a five meter kill rate radius around it.

Secret weapons, no matter how simple or sophisticated, always have and always will be a part of warfare. It always has and it always will be. This is also true in the spiritual realm. If you take your Bibles this morning and turn to Ephesians chapter 6, I want you to notice some things in this passage. This is the most lethal secret weapon the church has. In Ephesians chapter 6, the imagery is of a full dress Roman soldier who is ready for battle. Paul is looking on and at this Roman soldier and using him to contrast what he is wearing to the Christian life. It certainly would be ironic if a soldier was not familiar with their own defensive and offensive weapons which includes body armor of course. The various parts for Christians are applied spiritually, not literally to a literal battle, except it could be applied to the literal spiritual battle that believers are in. Just as the Israelites under Joshua had to fight against flesh and blood in order the conquer the land of Canaan which God said is already yours, ours is a spiritual warfare rather than a physical one.

Of course, our battle is not against necessarily human beings, but according to our text, it is a against spiritual wickedness – spiritual enemies in high places. In verse 10 it says:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

That is what is given to the believer. Consequently, it’s for our benefit and our protection that God does make available all the implements of the weapons of warfare that we will need to overcome Satan’s tactics and his methods. The first piece, in verse 14, is that we are to put on the girdle of truth. Now this deals with a believer’s learning and studying, their meditating, and their internalizing of God’s truth that comes from above to them. The belt of truth is what exposes the lies of Satan and quenches them.

And then, the second piece would be the breastplate of righteousness. It says,

And having put on the the breastplate of righteousness,

This piece deals with the believer knowing he has and she has God’s approval and that He is now imparting His righteousness on to them on a daily basis. In other words. It is not our righteousness, but we know that we have Christ’s imputed righteousness that makes us acceptable to God. Because of that, we are to live in obedience to the Word of God. We also are to live in the practical righteousness that God allows us to work out every single day as we are obeying the Word of God the Scriptures and walking in the Spirit.

And then the next piece in verse 15:

and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

This refers to a readiness and a preparedness, first to be firmly rooted in the gospel ourselves and secondly to spread the good news of the gospel. Why? Because once you know you are at peace with God through the blood of the Lamb, you want to spread the message that this is the message of reconciliation that can take place between God and people. When they come in repentance and faith, they also can be saved, which is God’s only provision for salvation. So if we are at peace with God almighty, then whom else should we be afraid of? No one. According to Romans: if God is for us, no one could be against us. The gospel of Jesus Christ actually plunders the evil one’s kingdom because the enemy in that case is overcome. Souls are moved from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God. And why is that important? Because Satan wants you to think the telling others is worthless, hopeless, and a bigger-than-life impossible task, that it is for someone else to do and not you. He is a liar at the highest level.

Then in Ephesians 6:16, the shield of faith is a piece that the soldier stands behind. You will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The devil is trying to shake you, to catch you off-guard. Every now and then, these tactics are in the form of insults, in the form of setbacks, in the form of trials and difficulties, of discord and discouragement, of guilt trips and of fiery temptations. Faith always points to the character of God, that He is truthful, that He is unchanging, that He is all-powerful, ever-present. God who is able and willing is making us able and willing by giving us this armor. He loves His children and are for them and very interested in them.

So the Christian is not only to resist the adversary by their believing, but also by the pertinent Scriptures used to counter-attack and cancel his wiles, relying by faith on what has already been written in the Word of God. We don’t have to make things up, in other words, to fight the enemy. It’s already written. Just use the Word of God.

And then Ephesians 6:17 – then the soldier puts on his head his helmet, the helmet of salvation. The apostle is directing our attention to the Christian’s whole position in Christ. God for sure has a hold on His children. Christ is our security. The helmet of salvation enables us to hedge against doubt and forcing our minds that Christ is our security in salvation. Christ is our strength against Satan’s temptations and deceit. Really, he has lost the battle and we are on the winning side. In Christ we have the victory.

So far the pieces of armor have been a defensive posture. But now we look in verse 17 of the sword that is supplied by the Spirit. It is a piercing sword, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We don’t have to make any mistakes on what it is. It is the word of God. This means that the sword is an offensive weapon as well as a defensive weapon. Christians who are regularly being fed the word of God are growing strong and truth, becoming more and more able to detect the lies and cancel them with the truth, therefore able to take the sword of the Spirit and do some close combat with the enemy. It was a small dagger type of weapon. If a soldier in modern-day combat is commanded to fix their bayonet, he knows that it is time for close combat with the enemy, where you get eyeball to eyeball, nose-to-nose with the enemy and you begin to fight them in that way. Probably the most fiercest and dangerous of all combat tactics is one-on-one, where a person has to fight to stay alive. So preparation and skill are paramount if victory is to be won.

However, it became clear to the apostle Paul while he was using using the Roman soldier’s armor and contrasting it with the spiritual battle that we are in as Christians, there was something that the Roman soldier was lacking that Christians are not lacking. In other words, Christians have a secret weapon, something available to all of God’s children. All Christian soldiers have this weapon. This weapon is more effective against the enemy than any secret weapon known or devised by man. You say, well what is it? Look at Ephesians 6:18, it says:

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.

in other words, the secret weapon that Christians have is prayer. That’s the secret weapon. In our text in Ephesians 6:18, prayer is not another piece of armor. However, prayer is that secret weapon of the believer and a vital part of spiritual warfare. It is as essential as breathing for our existence. And if you look at the first part of our text in verse 18, we must see here that we put on the whole armor of God and then in 18, with all prayer and petition, praying at all times in the Spirit. So the Christian soldier may be in constant contact with their commanding officer, the Lord Jesus Christ, at all times, in all situations. The believer can stand defensively against the satanic hosts because they have been given everything necessary and all the preparation to stand strong. The strength of the Lord gained by utilizing the full armor of God is stronger than all the power of the wicked. We Christians are to hold fast to the territory already won for us by Christ. We are not to give place to the devil.

But all these things, the armor and prayer, makes us able. Verse 11 of Ephesians 6:

you will be able to stand…

Verse 13 of Ephesians 6:

you will be able to resist…

Verse 16 of Ephesians 6:

you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Hence, Christians should expect victory, not defeat. By faith in God, we are able. However, Christians, once we put our armor on, we are not done yet. We must put our armor on in prayer. Prayer shows our dependance on the Lord. Prayer means we are in a living relationship with God. Prayer demonstrates that the Christian soldier is not attempting to fight in one’s own strength and power. Prayer is the essence of spiritual warfare, and most importantly, the means by which believers are strengthened by God.

So saying all that, there’s a problem. And you say, what’s the problem? Our secret weapon prayer has a lot of dust on it. It’s being underutilized, or not being used at all. Is it because we really don’t believe God as Christians once did? Writer and pastor and biblical counselor David Paulson, who’s with the Lord now, laid out an accurate prognosis of our culture of the numbing of most things spiritual. He wrote: prayer and worship have become hollow forms. God’s power and aid are little needed and little expected. Sin becomes psychopathology and social maladjustment. The Bible becomes a remote object, not the voice of the living God. Evangelism becomes vaguely embarrassing. And death to self is distastefully fanatical. Paulson further said: in other words, our times make belief in a spiritual war implausible to many and this modern mentality easily infects the Christian church.

So what do we need to do? We need to repent. Yes, I would say that every single one of us here this morning are in the same boat. We intend to pray, but we don’t. We want to pray. We think it’s good and important to pray, but we never seem to get around to it. See, we need to repent of the crippling sin of unbelief that goes along with that. And how will we know when God’s people are truly repentant in this area? When we are regularly picking up our secret weapon and using it. When we as a congregation seek God’s face together with our petitions and intercessions, our supplications, as well as our praises and thanksgiving to God, all all mixed up in what prayer is all about, so that He will work on our behalf. And prayer is still effective to accomplish much. Doesn’t it say this in James:

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Maybe we’re not accomplishing what we ought to accomplish because we are not taking up our secret weapon and praying. And I’m going to mention it more later, but the Bible from Acts chapter 2:42 is talking about the prayers. It’s not talking about individual praying. It’s talking about corporate praying, when God’s people meet together and make it a priority that we ought to be praying and let no excuses get in the way of that. It becomes that important when a Christian understands they are in a spiritual battle, whether they know it or not or like it or not. If they’re going to win against the enemy in a battle that’s already won. It’s like when God told the Israelites: go get the land; it’s already yours. They still had to go get it. God has all these promises for us, but He says to us: go get it. Go hold to it by faith. But it’s not going to happen if somehow prayer gets tucked away somewhere. Or the church never has time to do it. Or it just fades into a distant future or past.

Now saying all that, let’s take a look at the effectiveness of the church’s use of secret prayer when it’s an operative. Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Acts chapter 12. I want you to notice in Acts 12 the Roman authorities have seized Peter and threw him in prison. And the enemies of God, because they had a few successes in the past up until this point, think they have the upper hand. They do have the authority. The Roman government has the authority, in this case. They have the power to do what they think they want to do. In this case, it’s Herod. Herod severely underestimates who was for Peter and who was for His church. He didn’t even consider that somehow this little group of believers that have no real weapons that they can see, no real armor that can protect them, had all that plus they had a secret weapon. Didn’t bank on that. Didn’t consider that. But the church ought to considerate it. The essence of a secret weapon is that it is secret, so that the enemy is taken is taken by surprise. The true church of God has a secret weapon. It’s called prayer. And it’s a direct line to God.

Now I want you to see the church in Acts chapter 12. Look at verse 5. I just want to make eight observation about this little prayer meeting. Here’s the first observation and it’s this: prayer is to be carried out by the gathered church. Acts 12:5:

So Peter was kept in prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church of God.

It’s talking here about the gathered assembly of believers in a particular place, praying for Peter, praying for what happened there with Peter. That’s the first observation. The second observation is this in verse 6: prayer prevented the will of man from taking place. Look at what it says in verse 6:

On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chain, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison.

For one little man, this seemed like an awful lot of protection. Two guards? And these Roman soldiers, they were tough soldiers. They were very well-trained soldiers. They were soldiers that were very focused on their job. They knew that if they lost the prisoner, it would be their life, so they’re not losing anybody. In fact, if it came down to it, if a prisoner was going to be lost, better the prisoner lose their life than me. That’s what usually happened. But here, the will of Herod was prevented because the church was praying and using the secret weapon against what was going on in the spiritual realm.

The third observation is this: prayer brought heaven down to earth. Look at what it says in verse 7 through 11:

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which open for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

In other words, prayer that was being done by the church brought heaven to earth. Where do angels reside? Heaven. The angels show up, and of course rescue Peter. Miraculous things like the chains just fall off your hands. That the guards had no clue that you were moving through the prison. That the big iron gates of the city that were closed just open. And then Peter understood something. He understood that he was being rescued by the angel from Herod who wanted to kill him, who wanted to do harm to him.

And then a fourth observation is found in verse 12: prayer accomplished the impossible. It says:

And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.

I’m just showing you that when the secret weapon of prayer is being used corporately by God’s people, things happen behind the scenes in the spiritual realm, in the spiritual battle part of the Christian life, and miraculous things take place. He realized this, that God had accomplished the impossible.

And then in verse 13, the fifth observation is that prayer produces realistic results. Look at what it says:

When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer.

All right, so this is all real. This is not a mirage. This is not a dream. This is not a vision. This is real stuff. Real things are happening. This is like where the rubber meets the road Christianity. And it’s all because of prayer. It’s all because of prayer by God’s people.

Then a sixth observation: prayer produces joy. Look at verse 14:

When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate,

Now let me just stop right there. Why do you think she was joyful? She was joyful because of answered prayer. Joyful, because God heard this group of people praying and answered them exactly to what they were praying. It says the rest of the verse:

but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate.

Well open the door! I’m so excited I can’t open the door. See, prayer produces joy in the church amongst God’s people. You know what happens when you’re joyful? You get excited about the Christian life. You realize you’re not alone. You realize that God is on your side, that God does hear the prayers of His saints, that God is involved in our life in the most intimate details of what’s going on in our life and in the life of the church. This is not something we’re just doing on our own. We’re not just spinning our wheels.

But if we don’t pray, then maybe we’re just in the flesh. And we’re expecting results. We’re discouraged because we don’t see them. And it’s all because of one thing. The secret weapon of prayer is on our shelf, and it’s pretty dusty. Matter of fact, I don’t know if we can even find it. We got to pull that baby out, and we have to use it.

A seventh observation in our text is that prayer baffles unbelief. In verse 15, it says:

They said to her, “You are out of your mind!”

They didn’t even believe that what they were praying would actually happen. Sometimes, you know what, when prayer is answered, that’s what we think. That could never have happened unless God’s involved. That could have never taken place unless the Lord is working on our behalf. That’s right. That’s right.

Then an eighth observation in verse 16: prayer spiritually invigorates those who pray and bring them into the realm of the amazing. Look at what it says in verse 16:

But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed.

Joy and amazement in the Christian life. And I think it’s always been so that joy and amazement go together in the Christian life. When you have joy and amazement, you want more joy and amazement. The problem is that the way we get joy and amazement is through prayer. So the secret weapon of prayer used by the gathering church to defeat the enemies against us and produce wonder and joy in the church on a regular basis is what motivates us to pray more.

So we not only need to repent. We really need a paradigm shift in the way we think of prayer. We must be brought back to a biblical way of thinking about prayer. If we all are going to practice prayer in the life of the church, we all must hedge against certain temptations in our pursuit of the practice of prayer. And there are always temptations. Matter of fact, maybe the greatest temptations we experience as a church and individually as a believer is in our prayer life. Is there anybody here who can say to me: you know pastor, I pray too much. I’m in too many prayer meetings. I don’t know anybody like that, including myself. But I want that. Because you grow to a place in your spiritual life where you know that you have to be in communion with God in prayer about everything. Remember when you’re weak, He is strong. When you feel the weakest and you are the most vulnerable and you are praying, then God’s going to be strong on your behalf. And you’re going to see that. You’re going to see the results of that.

So what’s the first temptation that would come to a gathered church when it comes to using the secret weapon of prayer? Here’s the first temptation: let’s just cancel the regular schedule prayer time. Nobody wants to do it. So why do it? We meet for prayer at the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays and the first and third Fridays at 6:45. You would think because God has given us the gift of free access with Him anytime anyplace, that it would make us more fervent in wanting to pray corporately. Practically, that is usually not the case. We’re given this free and frequent access to God because we are always in need of it. So, you know what we have to do? We actually have to eliminate our excuses.

According to Scripture where it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19:

pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit;

I don’t think anyone of us struggles with too much praying. Prayer must remain the priority in the gathered church. It requires our persistence in it and our presence in it, in the prayer meetings together praying with each other. So that would be the first temptation. And I’ll tell you what, we’re not going to give in to that temptation. We’re not going to stop praying.

Secondly, second temptation would be this: I tried prayer; I found it doesn’t work. In other words, a false picture of how prayer is answered. Again, a person concludes that prayer is unproductive. A false perspective of prayer could be that they would say that God gives to people who do not ask. I see people have things that they didn’t ask for. I see my enemies have more things in their life and sees more joy in their life or happiness in their life than I have. Some of you may think: well, God fails to give to many who do ask. I’ve been asking and asking and asking, and I don’t see the results. I prayed to pass an exam and I failed. I prayed to be healed of an illness or someone else to be healed of an illness, and the illness got worse and the person even died. I prayed that no one close to me would die, and yet people die all the time. And thinking like this, people conclude prayer doesn’t work. It’s a fallacy, and that Satan wants us to believe that it doesn’t work. That God doesn’t hear you. Why would God listen to you?

See, unanswered prayer in the life of the church are just as helpful as answered ones. Prayer is leaving the direction of our lives in God’s hands. It’s leaving what’s going on our life in God’s control. Whatever God wants, as I seek His face. I prayed a long time along with the church and others for my father to trust Christ. Twenty-five years against all odds, against his stubbornness, against his fear of his religious family coming against him if he converted to christianity. Even his age – he was 70 years old. You know, the statistics say that if you get to seventy, probably you’re not going to believe. Don’t believe any of those statistics. You know what, God doesn’t have those statistics. He can save anyone at any time at any age. All the obstacles were vanquished, and my father at 70 years old trusted Christ as Lord and Savior and continued to live for Him and serve Him until he graduated to eternity and now is enjoying the presence of the Lord.

In other words, answered prayer, but for many years I experienced unanswered prayer. So what was it? Was it answered prayer, or was it unanswered prayer? It was God working, not only in my life because believe me, the Lord was sanctifying me a whole lot witnessing to my family and my father. He was showing me everything in my life. We just kept on plugging through, kept on praying, every day when it looked impossible, when it looked like God wasn’t hearing. And then God just, when I wasn’t even pursuing it, came in and boom, he becomes a believer. See, that’s how God works. Believe me, that’s why we could never stop as a church praying. We could never let down that guard ever. If God was pledged to give whatever we ask, when we ask it, and then exactly the terms we ask it, how should we bear that burden? How then could God be God, if He were subject to our whimsical immature self-centered prayers? We couldn’t bear it. And He wouldn’t be God.

I had once read of a helpful prayer formula that I use from time to time because it does help me. That if the request is wrong, God says no. That if the timing is wrong, God says slow. If you are wrong, God says grow. But if the request is right and the timing is right and you are right, God says go. So all those things are really answers to prayer, but I don’t necessarily know neither do you where that’s at. Sometimes God answers prayer immediately. Sometimes He doesn’t answer it for a year, but doesn’t mean that we should stop. Because God is still God. His plan is still going to go forward. The things that of His will, that is the secret part of His will, is still going to take place. But we have to make sure not of the secret part of His will, but of His prescribed will that we read in the word of God. One of the things that God wants us to do and the gathered assembly to do is to pray together.

So then, what is the third temptation that we would have when it comes to gathered prayer? It would be this: to individualize would God has meant to be corporate. What do I mean by that? I think prayer is a private matter. I don’t have to meet with other people or other Christians for God to hear my prayers. You say, well that is true to a point. But according to Acts 2:42, it is stressing in this passage of Scripture the practice of prayer that is corporate. See, we ought to prayer together as a church body.

In fact, a little bit disappointing in a way that the New American Standard does not use in that passage of Scripture the definite article, because the Greek text does use the definite article in front of everything that’s said in Acts 2:42. For it tells us there that they were devoted themselves to “the” apostles’ teaching. That means the only teaching. And then of course to “the” fellowship – that means the gathering fellowship of real genuine believers who believe the gospel. And to “the” breaking of bread – that means the breaking of bread of the real Christians that meet together, that celebrate that ceremony of the bread and of course the fruit of the vine. And then to “the” prayers – that are the prayer that is offered up by the group of believers that meet, fellowship, are taught the word of God, and partake of the Lord’s Table. So the practice of corporate prayer became a significant part of worship in which these new believers were eagerly desiring to participate in together. So yes, there’s individual prayer, but we cannot let go by the wayside the corporate prayer that’s being stressed in our passage.

A fourth temptation would be this: we assume people know what to pray for, or what prayer is, and how they should do it. We can’t assume that. You know what, when I became a new believer, I didn’t know how to pray. How did I learn how to pray? Nobody handed me a book and said, this is how to pray. I met with other believers and I heard them pray. And I kept meeting with other believers and I heard them pray. And I heard them pray, and I saw how they prayed. And then I saw the Scriptures, what the Bible says about what prayer is. And then I became very convinced that prayer is really learned by meeting together with other Christian people in the same practice of prayer, releasing our burdens to each other and then together taking them to God. That’s really what prayer is about.

Then I think another temptation would be this: to measure the effectiveness of your prayer gathering by the amount of people that attend. I think our result-oriented culture has something to do with that. The temptation would be if only small group of people come to pray. Or if you have a bunch of groups of people getting together during the week in different places to pray as the church, that’s good too. Organizing it; giving them something to pray and bring before the Lord along with their own request. That’s something we ought to be doing as a as a church. But the temptation would be that if it’s just small groups of people, then let’s innovate. And for worse, let’s cancel the whole thing, because it doesn’t seem like anybody’s interested. But this is where we must fight. We must keep faithful.

So are there any willing Christian people who will purpose in their heart to make corporate prayer a priority? That you fight for it as much as you would fight for your last breath in order to stay alive. Because I think that’s a good way of saying that if the prayer of God’s people do not take place, then we have no more breath. We have no power. Christians, don’t miss out on one of the greatest gifts that God has given to the church: the secret weapon of secret prayer. It’s not secret to us; it’s secret to the enemy. But it is vital to us. And if I should say this and end this way: real Christian desire to be devoted to the prayers that God wants us to offer up before Him, before His throne, on a regular basis. That would have to be where we’re going this morning.

So I just pray examine yourself. Look at where you’re at in this area of prayer, and make some real serious decisions this coming week and what you’re going to do about it. I pray that God would use it in a way that He would quench all our excuses. He would allow us to arrange our schedules, and that we would implement and put into practice as a gathered church the prayers that we ought to, so we can too experience the joy and the amazement that goes when we actually pray for something and receive weeks after that God actually answered. If you come to prayer meeting, you’ll find that that takes place. Why? We pray for that last week. We pray for your wife that this would happen and that happened, when it seemed impossible for what happened to happen. We prayed for someone to hear the gospel, and they heard it and then all of a sudden they believed and it became real. We prayed for someone in a certain other context that they would get through a particular situation and we lifted it up before the Lord and we find out God answered it. So maybe just as important as praying together is sharing each other’s answers to those prayers that will produce the joy and the amazement that comes with it.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank You this morning. For Lord, just again considering a part of the Christian life that Satan probably attacks more than any other. And Lord, we can go. We can do many things. We can be involved with many things. But Lord, I pray that we would never let this go by the wayside. I pray Lord, that You would this week, for my heart and the people’s heart, cause us to prioritize our time meeting together with other believers before the throne of God in prayer. And I pray Lord as we do, that it would become infectious. That other people would join. And that Lord we would have good times of communion with You before the throne of God and then enjoy when You answer us, whether the answer be no or the answer be wait. Or maybe the answer comes to pass. Lord, You get all the glory and praise because we want You to control our life. We want You, Lord, to be in charge of everything. I pray Lord, that You would take these words morning and press them upon those who are here in all our hearts so we can make the clear and right choices before You. And I pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.