When Jesus prayed the Lord’s Prayer that many of us have memorized, He used terms like “our Father,” “we,” and “us.” He prayed a corporate prayer.
I’m going to share a particular part of a sermon with you and how the sermon developed. It was during a time of transition in our church, and it seems like the Lord prepared me for it in advance. So I thought it would be interesting to share.
i. Prayerful preparation before transition
A week and a half ago, Pastor asked me to preach. I didn’t know anything else. I started preparing, hoping to get everything done early so I could enjoy some turkey and hangout (this was originally preached after Thanksgiving weekend).
God began dealing with me along these lines that I’ll be sharing with you. It was one of those situations when I didn’t know why. I spent quite a bit of time in prayer over this, wrestling with God, and asking “Why am I going to be ministering along these lines?” I didn’t quite get an answer, but I felt His peace.
Corporate Prayer During Transition
There were two specific occasions. A week ago Friday when I just crawled into one of these rooms and just prayed for awhile. I didn’t know everything that was going on.
Then I was led to prayer again on Wednesday morning. Pastor McIntire can attest that I show up to the office at 9 o’clock and it takes a good cup of coffee and an hour to wake up still, even after that. I’m just not normally a morning person, but God woke me up just like it was the middle of the day. At 5:30 in the the morning on that Wednesday, God again called me to prayer about these things.
I didn’t know everything. Nothing was really in focus, but I felt like God had laid out a word for you. I want to say I’m honored and I’m humbled to be the person to speak. We may not understand everything, but I know that God may help us focus through what we’ll share.
ii. Corporate prayer during transition
On Sunday night, November 2nd I preached on Prayer: Walking with God. I gleaned from the story of Enoch and how he walks with God daily. Since that time, I felt very strongly that was to be my topic in every situation. That week alone, I preached on Sunday night on prayer. I preached on Wednesday morning at Prunedale Christian Academy on prayer, and again that night to the youth group.
We’ve been taking the youth group through some studies on prayer. Two weeks ago, we dealt with the Lord’s Prayer. One of the things I pointed out to the youth group was that when Jesus prays the Lord’s Prayer (which many of us have memorized) He uses terms like “our Father,” “we,” and “us.” He prays a corporate prayer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Evangelical Theologian last century, reflects on the Lord’s Prayer and how there’s power in praying together. He says that Jesus is teaching the Disciples. “The disciples call upon the heavenly Father as a corporate body, they call upon a Father who already knows his children’s needs. The call of Jesus binds them into a brotherhood.”
There is a bond of fellowship that starts to happen when we begin to pray together, when we’re walking together with God.
Acts 1 is a familiar passage, with a couple verses that may not receive as much attention as other verses in this chapter or the next. These verses are in reference to the Disciples after Jesus had departed.
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. Acts 1.13-14, KJV
Heavenly Father, as we come before You, we ask You to direct our thoughts. Draw us into a focus. Lord, through Your Word bring healing and direction for the days ahead. Jesus be with us in these moments. We pray that Your Word will be spoken and your anointing would be present, both on me to speak, and on our hearts to receive, in Jesus’ precious name. Amen
iii. Corporate prayer preceding grand-scale transformation
We can look throughout the New Testament Scriptures and find examples of corporate prayer. What I mean by that is joining together in prayer as a church body, as part of the Kingdom of God. The book of Acts is full of story after story of the Church praying together, and God answering mightily.
When we look at Acts 1, it shows us how the Disciples pray before Pentecost.
What if we discovered how to pray together to invite the Holy Spirit to have His way?
What if we were able to pray together to invite the Holy Spirit to transform our church and our city?
That’s exactly what the Disciples are doing.
notes: As previously published, Rev. Jared V. Ingle, “Prayer: Walking Together With God,” Echoes From Calvary Church, Salinas, CA.
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For another post on this topic see: On Praying Together