PRAYER (How Praying Together Shapes The Church) by John Onwuchekwa
It seems that over the past 3-4 decades or so, prayer has been lost in the life of the church. There are several contributing factors: focus is directed on being seeker-sensitive, focus is all about the music, focus has been on programs, or focus has been blurred by the ever-busyness that people experience in their life. The point of the matter is that the church which Jesus describes in Matthew 21 as a “house of prayer” has quickly become anything but a house of prayer–it is a social institution, a fellowship gathering, an entertainment facility, a place to have my personal needs and requirements met–and if you don’t meet them, I may leave or worse yet, cause discontentment among other believers with my words and actions.
What the church needs at this time are praying believers coming together crying out with boldness before a merciful and loving Father (1 John 5:14-15). We need to be intentional and unified in our approach. We need to do this regularly. We need to seek of God–His will, His words, His direction, His answers. It is past time for the church to begin to call upon the Lord with vigor and passion because it is linked to the Gospel! John Onwuchekwa states that this is missional to our hope in a fallen world.
If prayer clings to the hope we share in Christ, then prayer should reflect our togetherness in Christ. If prayer has a Gospel shape,
then by implication it must have a church shape.
Prayer is the one thing that can unify us around a single purpose: the Gospel. And, the Gospel changes everything: our relationships, our contentment, our joy, our worship, and our personal lives.
It may be true that many of you have personal prayer lives that are powerful, fulfilling and satisfying. I want to encourage you to continue on. But, DO NOT let your prayer life stay in your “prayer closet.” Move out to your family room and pray with your family. Move out of your house and gather in small groups with other believers and pray. Move toward the local church AND join together corporately with fellow believers In a regularly scheduled meeting for prayer. Jesus did this and He is our greatest example for all things:
Jesus often involved others in his prayers. We certainly shouldn’t try to impress others with our prayers, but we should always involve them in our prayers. Why? Because we’re family. God is not just my Father, but “Our Father,”
Let’s begin the process of turning the tides of the last several decades and place a definitive importance on the matter of prayer-individually, with families, and as a church of believers. If you need a resource, I encourage you pick up a copy of Prayer by John Onwuchekwa. This book will give you more insight into corporate prayer than I could ever eloquently write in a few paragraphs on a blog.
Prayer is a bigger deal than we have made it out to be.
It’s vital for the life of our church.
ADDENDUM: Some of the most important materials for a worship leader/pastor are found when you begin reading Onwunchekwa’s descriptions of how these ideas of corporate prayer can be implemented into a weekend or weekly gathering in the local church