Do we really believe that God answers our prayers? Jesus says in Luke 11:13 that “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Jesus promises us here that God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask for him. And along with the Holy Spirit, God the Father gives his children every other good gift that we ask for.
One of the premises of that verse is that we need to ask God the Father boldly for things in prayer. And one of the conclusions of that verse is that we should expect that God the Father will answer. Do you pray expecting God to answer? I am persuaded that for us at Christ Church, expectant prayer is an area that we must press much further into together. I know that I personally have often failed to pray boldly and expectantly in my life. Have you?
Jack Miller wrote in multiple books about what he called “Frontline Prayer Meetings.” He contrasted these with “Maintenance Prayer Meetings.” Here are the four characteristics that Miller gives for Frontline Prayer Meetings:
First, faith and expectancy. That is, multiple believers gather in the name of Jesus and claim his promise confidently to be present with them and answer them (Matt. 18:20; Acts 1:13-14; 2:42).
Second, oneness of purpose. That is, the praying people seek agreement and one-mindedness on prayer topics (Acts 1:14; 2:1; Romans 15:5-6).
Third, authority. That is, the prayers offered are humble but bold. They claim the authority of Jesus’ name in making requests to the Father (John 15:16; 16:24).
Fourth, commitment. That is, believers surrender to the will of Christ as revealed in the Great Commission, and are wiling to take risks in obeying that will (Acts 1-4).
Miller concludes this list by writing: “Christian people and their leaders are ready to do almost anything except get down to praying with power and authority in the name of Christ.”
It is with that conviction and intent that we hold a Sunday morning prayer meeting at Christ Church. We pray at Great Hearts every week at 9:30 in Room 205 (upstairs). I want to invite you to join us. These are intended to be “frontline prayer meetings.” We seek to pray expectantly and in faith. We seek to pray with oneness of purpose. We seek to pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who has all authority in heaven and on earth. We seek to pray for God to show up in our worship gatherings. We seek to pray for people to get saved. We seek to pray for healing and change to happen. And we need more of you there. If our church is to move forward in the mission of God, we must get down on our knees and pray together. Plan to join us this week, and every week in the future, at 9:30.
This week I had the opportunity to participate in one of my favorite pastoral acts. A fellow elder in Acts 29 and myself spent time anointing a woman with oil and praying for her to be healed from her chronic illness (see James 5:13-18). We prayed expectantly and asked for Jesus to use his authority and power to heal her. I have regularly participated in this kind of prayer in my ministry, and have very often seen people healed. Do you know why? Because Luke 11:13 is true! Jesus Christ is alive and has all authority. God hears when we pray and loves to answer. So, I expect that God will heal the woman we prayed for earlier this week. And if he chooses to withhold healing for now, I believe that that is his perfect will and is the best possible outcome.
Do you have people in your life that you want to meet Jesus? Do you long to experience the presence of God in worship in fresh and vital ways? Do you want to overcome persistent sin? Do you want to see healing and renewal among us? Do you want slumbering Christians to wake up to the grace of God in the gospel? So do I! Let’s commit to getting on the frontline together and seeking God in prayer for these things. I hope to see you Sunday.