“Wherever I am, whatever I am doing – I hope and pray that I will have the courage to stand up for the real Jesus of the New Testament, regardless of who I offend!” – A.W. Tozer
God is the power in the power of prayer. Prayer’s power doesn’t come from us or any special words we use. The power of prayer is released on our behalf as we petition God through His Son and in His will.
Have you considered covering your pastor and church in prayer during times of worship and spiritual battle? You may think, “What spiritual battle?”
Whether we admit it or not, every time the church gathers for service there is a battle. It is a spiritual battle for the unsaved, the new believer, and the mature believer. It is a battle for recognition of who God is, knowledge about living according to His ways, and obedience. Each individual can be found somewhere in Jesus’ parables of Matthew 13:
- Battle for hearts and the worries/evils of the day: The parable of the sower and the explanation Jesus gives (Matthew 13:1-9 & 18-23 respectively) is about God’s kingdom, the evil one, and the hearts who receive the Word of God.
- Battle against subterfuge and falseness: In Matthew 13:24-29 Jesus shares of a man who sowed good seed only to have an enemy come and sow weeds among his crop! The explanation in Matthew 13:36-43 explains the sower is the Son of Man, the field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds, though, are of the evil one and represent Satan’s subjects. They often appear similar, and they are allowed to grow together until the harvest occurs. Notice the seed in this parable is different than the seed in the previous one.
- Battle of seekers to focus and act: In Matthew 13:44-45 Jesus shares how the kingdom of heaven is a treasure whose value supersedes all in this life.
Praying despite difficulty
“Nothing we do in the Christian life is harder than prayer.” – Martin Lloyd-Jones
Prayer brings us into the presence of a loving yet holy God. Any unconfessed sin is like a porcupine quill stuck in our souls which, though we may try to hide it, is obvious to God. The Great Physician is always ready to help and heal if we only ask.
Have you ever noticed when you pray for others for more than a few moments the prayers can either get more superficial (and you tend to end quickly) or they grow deeper? This is a great place to trust Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
Often, what happens as we pray is described so well by J.I. Packer who wrote, “Prayer and praise are like a bird’s two wings: with both working, you soar; with one out of action, you are earthbound. But birds should not be earthbound, nor Christians praiseless.”
Sometimes praise brings joyful spontaneous prayer. I remember the following prayer one Sunday in the midst of ongoing praise:
"Almighty God, thank you for your Word and your love for us. Help your servant properly share your Word with all of us, and let our hearts be the good soil – prepared and protected by you. Nourish it, let it lead us to greater love and obedience to you that we may bear fruit for your kingdom through your power. For those who are seeking wisdom, let them find it in you. For those seeking answers and who are not saved, let them find it in you. Protect each member from the worries of the world which would snatch away the seeds being planted today. Let us be known by our love for you and each other. In Jesus' name. Amen."
Praise and joy provide the raw material for prayers like that which the Holy Spirit utilizes to bring them into being.
John Flavel wrote, “Faith animates prayer – and prayer increases faith.”
You can be a part of advancing God’s kingdom through prayer and growing faith. Pray for your church and pastor (especially during worship) and watch as the power of God is unleashed in your midst. I pray for each of you to experience the reality of Numbers 6:24-26:
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
(Editor's Note: If you have questions, please mention my name or this blog and email firstname.lastname@example.org).