Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Very Powerful ...

The first corporate prayer meeting of the Christian era took place in Acts 1:14. Here is what God’s word says, “They (that group of believers) all joined together constantly in prayer …”

God’s people prayed unanimously!  Acts 1:14 says, “they …”

They prayed together unanimously! That is what the original Greek Language was really trying to say. When something is unanimous, that something is agreed on by all. That means that personal preferences are tossed to the side and individuals come together and say yes to what is best for the group. Now follow me here! I bet that Matthew liked beans and John liked broccoli, but they said yes to butternut squash when it was best for the entire group. Each could eat their favorite foods on their own time, but when the group was together, they ate what was best for all.

They knew how to live unanimously and they knew how to pray unanimously. Do we?

You can like the KJV and I can like the NIV, but when we are together, we need to use the version that best glorifies God in the moment. We must not allow our preferences to water down God’s desire that we live unanimously and pray unanimously. Folks, around here, let us pray unanimously in regard to God’s divine desire and place under the bed, what we want. Let us all pray unanimously because we are unanimous in purpose. Let those who like Bill Gaither pray beside and with those who like DC Talk because our purpose is bigger than our preferences. Let those who like it warm in here pray beside and with those who like it cold in here because our commission is greater than our preferences. Let those who like to dress up on Sundays pray beside and with those who do not like to dress up on Sundays because our divine directive is larger than our preferences. Senior Adults and Teenagers can pray together in unanimous fashion. Alabama fans and Arkansas fans can pray together unanimously.

The truth is this! You can like Hymns and I can like Hymns and Choruses and as long as people are asking God to forgive them and embracing Jesus as their Savior and Lord, nothing else matters. You can say police and I can police and as long as people are getting sanctified, nothing else matters. LET US ADD A UNANIMOUS MIND SET TO OUR METACILOUS PRAYERS!

Philippians 2:3 has never been truer, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves …”

There is no purple living where individual preferences rule the roost.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Nevertheless ...

The Book of Acts records the mighty works of God for and through His church in its early years, and clearly connects them to unified, corporate prayer.

120 followers of Jesus were gathered in an upper room praying in one accord when Pentecost came. (Acts 1:13 and 2:1). The disciples prayed for wisdom in regard to replacing Judas (Acts 1:24). When Peter and John reported the Sanhedrin's threats, those gathered cried out to God in one accord for boldness, and the place was shaken where they prayed (Acts 4:24, 31). The church prayed over the seven men appointed to serve the widows (Acts 6:6). After James was martyred and Peter imprisoned by Herod, the church fervently prayed, and God miraculously delivered Peter from his cell (Acts 12:1-11). While the prophets and teachers were praying and fasting, the Holy Spirit called Paul and Barnabas to go on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-2).

Paul and Silas were praying when God sent an earthquake that resulted in the conversion of the jailer and their release (Acts 16:25).

Now again, let me say that I am not disparaging personal, private prayer.

Ananias was praying alone when God instructed him to go to Saul (Acts 9:10ff.). Peter was alone on the rooftop when he had his famous vision leading him to share the Gospel with a Gentile named Cornelius (Acts 10:9ff.).

Nevertheless, the majority of God's recorded workings come when His people pray together. What in the world are we waiting for?

A Thought From God to CCOTN about Corporate Prayer ...

Ransack the Gospels for the Lord’s teachings on prayer and you will identify 37 verses.

Of those 37 verses, 33 of them celebrates prayer in the plural. In other words, the Lord’s instruction on prayer decisively leans toward praying with others. Take, for example, Mathew. 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” We read "you" in that verse and immediately think it is singular, referring to an individual. However, it is actually a plural "you," meaning Jesus is urging a gathering of believers to ask, seek, and knock.

The focus of Jesus on more than one person praying together indicates that God uniquely and powerfully works when God’s people corporately pray.

Instead of talking about what we wish God would do next, why don’t we pray together about what we want God to do next? Could it be that we would rather talk about it than pray about it? It is very easy to verbally identify what needs to happen next here at Calvary Church of the Nazarene. It ought to be just as easy to pray about what needs to happen next as well. I guess what I am saying is this. Let us not just point out areas where we can do better. Let us pray together and ask God to help us actually do better. Yes! God has done so much! To God be the glory great things he has done and is doing, but it is OK to ask Him to do more as long as we ask with an attitude of gratitude. Anyone can see the needs! Anyone can talk about the areas where we desire God to work, but is everyone who is anyone which is everyone willing to pray corporately where we once talked.

It is time to ask, seek and knock TOGETHER!

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Sleeping Giant ...

On the day after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto, the admiral of the entire Japanese Navy, spoke these words about the United States, “I fear that all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant …”

I just wonder! Will praying together awaken this sleeping giant (CCOTN)? Are we willing to cause fear in the camp of the enemy? Are we ready to bind the devil and cast him out of all of our business? That is what praying together does. God wants to do something unexplainable and uncontrollable, but we have to pray together! God wants to do something that we cannot take any credit for … God wants to do something that cannot be explained away, but we have to pray together.

Who we become will be determined by our corporate prayer effort.

Friday, January 19, 2018

I wonder ...

Jonah 1:1 say, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai …”

The expression "The word of the LORD came to" occurs over 100 times in the Old Testament. Why is that such a big deal? The word of the Lord came to Jonah. The word of Lord went to Jonah. God proactively spoke to Jonah. Aren’t you glad that God still proactively speaks to His people? 

What has God been saying to you?

I wonder if fatigue sometimes fights against a listening ear? I wonder if all of us need a little physical renewal from time to time?

If creation did not crash when God rested, it certainly will not crash when we do.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

4 Us ...

Too many churches convince themselves that a new bus, a new building, a new sign, new carpet, newly painted parking lines or even a new parking lot will bring God’s presence, but folks, us praying together will bring God’s presence in a new way that a new ice machine won’t.

God is for us! Let us pray like it!

Total dependency on God! Let us bring it back.

Not a sense of defeat, but a knowledge that we are more than conquerors because we are and can be dependent on God.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sometimes ...

Sometimes we substitute programs for prayer.

Too many churches are convinced that the latest program will bring fresh wind and fresh fire. Too many churches have developed a routine that runs far too smoothly without any need of the Holy Spirit. In some churches, if God were to take His Spirit away, most of what the church is doing would go right on and nobody would ever know the difference. Folks, that cannot be allowed to happen here.

Think of all of the stuff that we scurry around doing on a typical Sunday morning that interferes with us praying together. Oh sure! Those things that we faithfully do Sunday after Sunday are important things, but are they the most important things?

We must be undertaking certain endeavors around here that are destined to fail unless we pray together. Church, could it be that we are one united prayer time away from something that we have always dreamed about.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Us ...

At the end of the day, it is all about admitting and celebrating our dependency!

The greatest moments in life are the miraculous moments when human impotence and divine omnipotence intersect. You better believe it! We are dependent on God and I am so glad that we are. I am glad that we need God’s help because He is able.

Now, let us pray like it! There is no substitute for God’s divine intersection! 

Sometimes we substitute preaching for corporate prayer. Now, I am not saying that preaching is unimportant. I am saying that we sometimes put too much confidence in the ability of a man to do what only God can do. Does God say anywhere in His word that His house shall be called a house of preaching? NO! In Mark 11:17, Jesus tells us that God’s “house will be called a house of prayer.” Folks, Jesus launched the Christian church, not while someone was preaching, but while people were praying.

Let US look at our humanly impossible situations and corporately invite God to intervene.

What?

Praying together was a priority for the apostles.

In Acts 6:1-4, the Church in Jerusalem faced one of its first dilemmas, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.’”

The example of the apostles in Acts 6 points to their priority of praying together. The “we” in Acts 6 is a collective we. When they said, “we” they meant plural and simultaneously.

There are five occurrences of prayer in Acts preceding Chapter 6 (1:14, 24; 2:42; 3:1; 4:23-31) and each occurrence pictures the apostles praying within a group. Not one reference points to their private prayer time. The focus is on God's people praying together. So, by testimony and by example, it is plain to see that the apostles placed a high premium on the people of God praying corporately. In Acts 6, you will notice that the apostles considered corporate prayer just as much of a priority as the preaching and teaching of God's Word.

Church, bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers. Don’t we need God to show up, show out and show off around here? Well, then let us pray together. 

What are we waiting for?