~by Randy Bushey
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).
Some self-assessment-type questions on prayer:
1.How often do I analyze carefully my own prayer life?
2.How do my prayers compare with those of New Testament believers?
3.Does my prayer-life expect and experience resulting power from the Spirit of God?
Pastor and author Daniel Henderson* observes that New Testament prayer is characterized by 3 things:
– it is worshipful;
– it is Spirit-led;
– it is Scripture-fed.
Read carefully this prayer in the early church at Jerusalem on the occasion of Peter and John being released from prison by the authorities of the Jewish ruling council.
When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.
“Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.’ Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. (Acts 4:24-32).
This expectant prayer – by those gathered to appeal to God – is so obvious in its composition.
This prayer is worshipful; it is Spirit-led; and because these believers have a regular diet of God’s Word, it is Scripture-fed.
Check out other prayers of the New Testament – the apostolic age. Although not always as apparent at first glance, after careful review they could be similarly described.
A.W. Tozer was one of the mid-20th century’s greatest Christian thinkers and authors. In his own incisive way, Tozer made this observation of the North American church in 1962, a year before his death: “I tell you, outside of politics there is not another field of activity that has more words and fewer deeds, more wind and less rain.”**
Tozer would go on to say that the church – and those making up the Body of Christ – suffer from anemic worship and lacklustre prayer.
Takeaway: May we, by the power of God’s Spirit, be intentional about praying like the apostolic church: prayer that is worshipful, Spirit-led, and Scripture-fed.
And, as we learn to pray biblically, may we see – and expect to see – the power of God unleashed in our lives, marriages, families, and in our church.
* Old Paths, New Power, Daniel Henderson, Moody Publishers, Chicago, 2016.
**Whatever Happened to Worship? A.W. Tozer, Authentic Media, Colorado Springs, 2009.
~graphic by Jesper Noer, freeimages.com