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By Bro. M.L. Francis, Chennai

    ‘Prayer is as vast as God’, said Leonard Ravenhill.   The scope of united prayer in a local body of Christ has clearly been demonstrated in the Book of Acts. Right from the beginning of the formation of the Christian Church by the Holy Spirit, the believers had been engaged in active ministry of prayer both by the individuals as well as by the congregation. (Acts 2:42; 3:1; 4:24,31; 6:4; 9:11; 10:9; 12:5,12; 13:3) The early Christians not only perceived the power and result of prayer but also practiced it as an integral part of their lives. As a result the Church became powerful and lively ready to confront any challenge from the enemy.

 Declension & ignorance
    The signs of alarming spiritual declension in the local churches are visibly seen because the ministry of intercession has considerably decreased. The importance of prayer life seems to be ignored by the majority. For many, this noble work is looked upon simply as a duty rather than a passion and urge within. It is commonly seen that our people in the prayer meetings are not able to cross the boundary of their little kingdom. Many of our prayers are concerned with ‘what to eat’ and ‘what to drink’ which, as our Lord testified, is the prayers of the pagans. Mtt. 6:31, 32.
     One of the reasons for the coldness in the area of prayer is, I believe, that believers are not properly led to the understanding that the prayer is the important ministry of the church. A wrong perception about prayer contributes further woes to their apathy. They think that prayer is the ‘refuge of the weak’ and therefore, prayer takes the bottom place of the priority list, and they can do things without it.
      A strong awareness of prayer needs to be brought in the light before it is too late. A small section of the church makes all the effort to gather together for prayer but fervency and passion in their prayers are still missing. Effectual prayers are born in the heart. They are stocked with heart-treasure, with faith, and hope, and desire, and holy urgency, and they go forth with power to shake the world.

Specific & focused     
    We hear several messages on prayer and intercession and our heads are full. But, if they are not able to make us doers of the word and find a closet to bend our knees, then what is the profit?
    Prayer is not an aimless activity. Nor it is a routine business. Better we ask these questions: What are we going to achieve? What are my prayers like? Are they mere practices at prayer full of nothing but sound? Is there any reasonable ground for assuming that they can accomplish anything?
  A focused prayer is always effective. And also ‘the heartfelt supplication of a righteous man exerts a mighty influence’ (Weymouth).  James 5:16

Educate & encourage    
    To create awareness for prayer we may follow these suggestions. Find out a few believers who express some concern for prayer and let them take initiative to encourage others. Share among them some amazing stories how God answered positively as answers to prayer citing Scripture portions to support them. Teach them that the prayer is the vital ministry of every believer without which no spiritual blessing is possible.
   “God does nothing without prayer”, said John Wesley.   Let us pray that a host of prayer warriors may be raised up in our congregations.            

Bro. M.L.Francis

Related topic:- PRAY OR PERISH



More:- An index for all studies

Prepared by Bro. M. L. Franics as part of his teaching and preaching ministry to encourage christians to pray. You can reproduce this article in any medium, provided it is unedited, and retain the original author / copyright information and reference to this website. Please feel free to write to the author at     francisolariATgmail.com for details. Or contact    gracepeaceuATgmail.com