My house will be called a house of prayer…(Matthew 21:13 NIV)
According to the New Testament, especially as enumerated in Acts 2, the Church has several important purposes. The Church is to be a place of worship, evangelism, prayer, teaching (or discipleship), fellowship, and ministry. Out of all these Biblical and practical purposes, Jesus chose one to speak about as he cleared the temple as recorded by Matthew. Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” Of all that the Church is supposed to be, on this important occasion, Jesus said that the Church is to be a place of prayer. The challenge for the Church to be a place of prayer still faces us today.
In Luke 11, as they have witnessed Jesus praying, the disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Again, out of all the things the disciples could have asked Jesus to teach them, they asked Him to teach them to pray. They never said to Jesus, “Teach us to feed the multitudes.” Not once do we read that the disciples asked Him how to heal the sick. They did ask though how to pray.
You are not alone if you feel overwhelmed by the task of prayer. After all we are taught to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to “pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6), and to “pray for everybody” (1 Timothy 2:1). How are we going to do that?
Let me offer a couple of simple suggestions.
1. Establish a priority for praying. What does the example of Jesus praying say about our own need to pray? If Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we need to pray?
2. Establish a place of prayer. A particular place does not assure the answer to prayer, but your place might just become that holy place for you.
3. Establish a plan of prayer. Get a notebook. Get a list. Get a guide. Get a partner. Do something to plan to pray. I always do better when I have a plan.
Remember the Nike slogan! Just do it! Let’s stop talking about how much we need to pray and pray. Let’s stop reading about how to pray and pray.
I am asking the Lord to teach me to pray better and more, and then lead our church to do the same. Would you join me? At First Baptist Church, Lafayette, beginning this Sunday, we are going to begin praying more. We are going to do this in a variety of ways, but one way is simply agreeing together that we must do more.
We welcome you Sunday at 9:45 a.m. or 11:11 a.m. and in the evening at 6:00 p.m. We are located at 1100 Lee Avenue in Downtown Lafayette.