Is Prayer the “Very Essence and Life” of our Church?
January 17, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
“My prayer life and habits are perfect; I have no need for improvement in my discipline of prayer.”
Said no one ever.
Every follower of Christ that I have interacted with about prayer has affirmed two things: 1. Prayer is utterly vital; and 2. “I don’t pray like I should/want to.” Martin Luther poignantly summarizes the importance of prayer when he said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
If praying is like breathing for the Christian, then many of us are suffocating.
And it’s not only the general need for prayer, but also the need for churches to be communities of prayer. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said that the church praying together is “the very essence and life of the Church.” We need to be people of prayer as individuals and as a body of believers.
The early church is an incredible example of allowing prayer to be the “very essence” of their being and identity.
Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to … the prayers.
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed…
Acts 6:2 & 4 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “We will devote ourselves to prayer ..."
Acts 10:1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, … a devout man who feared God… and prayed continually to God.
Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
Acts 16:16 As we were going to the place of prayer…
As we look ahead to 2019 and what God has in store for Oak Hills and our mission to make known the astonishing grace of God, the elders have joined together in desiring that prayer would be a priority for our church family (“the very essence and life of our church”). When we consider the specific needs of our congregation, prayer can and should undergird every single one of them. Evangelism. Reaching our neighbors. Strengthening our marriages and parenting. Leadership development. Fighting specific sins. Everything. Prayer is the first and most vital step to see any progress and growth in our areas of need.
Therefore, the elders are calling on Oak Hills to accept the prayer challenge for 2019. Join us in learning more about prayer, being challenged to pray together on a more regular basis, and cultivating prayer as the “very essence and life” of our church community as we seek to faithfully make known God’s astonishing grace. To facilitate these aims we will hold three special gatherings this Spring semester. I’m calling these gatherings Prayer Summits where prayer is studied, practiced, and, Lord willing, becomes our heartbeat. We have them scheduled for three Sunday evenings: February 24, March 24, and April 28. Our Life Groups will work their schedules around these evenings so that everyone will be available to come together. Please mark your calendar now and plan to join us. I’ll be sharing more about these evenings in the weeks to come.