40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline:  Day 11 – Prayer

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They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church

Context:

As we now turn our attention to the Discipline of Prayer we will begin by considering some questions about the role of prayer in your local church. 

Before we consider the questions, it is worth remembering the reaction Jesus had to those who were buying and selling in the temple courts.  He was not happy that God’s proclamation in Isaiah 56:7, “for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”, was being perverted.   

Primary Questions:

  1. Does your local church consistently teach biblical principles about prayer?
  2. Fill in the following blank for your church.  My local church is a house of ____.  Was prayer one of the first words that came to mind?
  3. Does your local church consistently have group prayer meetings where all members are encouraged to pray (i.e., not just the “prayer warriors”)?
  4. Are the leaders of your church fully committed to prayer in their personal lives?

Optional Secondary Questions (if you have the time):

  1. Does your local church pray with an attitude of expectancy?
  2. Does your local church practice visiting and praying with the sick?

Your Feedback:

While you are not expected to share your answers to the questions above, we would still love to hear from you.  Based on your answers to the questions, do you sense that prayer is the lifeblood of local churches?

4 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline:  Day 11 – Prayer

  1. The Pastor of my church is a praying man, and he encourages his congregants to make prayer a way of life, with faith. He dedicates lots of his personal time to prayer, and I actually look forward to when he lets us know he’ll be dedicating days of prayer for us, and asks that we send our prayer requests to him, so he can pray for specifics.
    He emphasizes that we should faithfully bring everything to God in prayer, not just the big things.
    My local church is definitely a house of prayer, and Pastor definitely teaches and encourages us to pray with expectancy. I don’t know if it’s going on now, but before the pandemic, the sick were visited and prayed with/for. As a member of our prayer team, I get prayer requests at least weekly. I love finding out when the person(s) who is being prayed for (or their family member) sends an update of praise for an answered prayer.
    Prayer is important to me. Sometimes I am disappointed in myself when I worry instead of pray. Pastor mentions the Bible verse, “Pray without ceasing.” It’s hard to worry when you’re praying, so we should take that verse to heart.

  2. “Do you sense that prayer is the lifeblood of local churches?” Just to comment a little on why this really has to be the case.

    Not only is it biblical, as per the verse above, but it also uniquely binds the local body together around its specific mission (concerning both outreach and “inreach”) as they pray together for such specific needs and desires. Community prayer, along these lines, is so essential.

  3. My church in Japan and the one here in River Oaks, Texas are committed to prayer. All other churches I’ve bee a part of in the past 11 postings were all committed to prayer. There’s always many groups in these churches that pray for the members such as ladies group, men’s breakfast group, youth group, couples group and many other groups. They are all source of encouragement and fellowship making members feel bonded and really a part of the body of Christ. These prayer groups at church also practiced confidentiality. There is also updates of prayer requests especially praises when one prayer request was answered. In another church In Japan where I started attending since May 2020 I could still attend by zoom on Saturday evening here and Sunday morning in Japan, I like the prayer time of small group in one room 25 minutes before the service starts. Everyone joining will just pray one after another. I admire this style of this church and feel blessed to pray with the group even though I’m not in Japan physically. Zoom prayer meeting works well for me who moves from one country to another so often.

  4. I do not believe it is by chance that these four disciplines of church turn up in Acts 2 on the heels of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the inauguration of the church. I believe that my western, individual bias blinded me until recently from the weight of the imperative that these disciplines are corporate “non-negotiables” to be practiced in the context of the local body. I understand this as the Sunday message (preaching) first targeted to and applied by the local body (uniquely and divinely called in a particular place at a particular time) while bible study and small groups facilitate personal growth. This is consistent with the corporate nature of the admonishments that follow and culminate with the seven churches in Revelation.

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