They all met together and were constantly united in prayer... Acts 1:14
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. Acts 2:42
When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God... Acts 4:24
These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. Acts 6:6
When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. Acts 12:12
In the book of Acts, pray or prayer was used 34 times. The early church was steeped in prayer. They prayed when they were afraid, when they were full of joy, when they were sad and when they wanted to praise God. They also prayed for direction, "One day as they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.'" Acts 13:2
I do not believe that the church would have grown as large and as quickly if the disciples and believers tried to do it themselves. It was the power of the Holy Spirit, that made all the difference. They knew that and spent much time in prayer. There is no way I would lead or launch a church without thoroughly consulting God before and throughout. It is the only way I know, to fully understand God's will for my life and my work.
Jesus often prayed alone and with his disciples. When witnessing Jesus' prayer life the disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. They asked for no other instructions from Jesus. But prayer was so important they wanted to get the how-to from the Messiah, the man who had seen God.
Prayer keeps us focused on God and gives us the strength and courage to do what he calls us to do, it's the best barrier against sin. Jesus told his disciples, on the very night he was arrested, "Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation." Luke 22:46. But they were tired and went back to sleep. They didn't pray that night and when Jesus was arrested they fled and denied Jesus, afraid for their lives. Caring only for themselves.
Prayer is the process by which we know God better. In my last blog post, Connect, Connect, Connect, I talked about the need to build relationships. Relationship building needs to occur between God and us as much as between us and others, maybe more so. Certainly, prayer is something the modern church lacks. Prayer services if they exist, are usually poorly attended. People have confidence these days that they can do anything and everything without God.
That is probably one reason that churches are dying at the rate they are, people are trying to build them on their own power instead of the power of the Holy Spirit. If the Global Methodist Church is to be a powerful, Spirit-filled denomination, it must make prayer the number one priority. Nothing else will fuel the denomination as powerfully as prayer.
Prayer is where the power comes from to build the church. Christians today need to focus more on prayer than anything else. We cannot assume God will bless us simply because we are building a church. Every new church start must begin with a powerful prayer ministry. In future posts, I will discuss ways that we can build a prayer ministry that will draw in unbelievers and strengthen believers.