LUKE 9:28 – Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.
THEME OF THE DAY. PRAYING TOGETHER: WHAT ABOUT US? So, let’s start today’s nugget with a little “heart surgery” that might not be comfortable, but could lead to much encouragement and life-changing in our walks with the Lord. Here we go . . .
What if we are aware of a command in God’s Word; what if we see examples in the Bible, church history, and among our brothers and sisters today showing obedience to this command; what if we sense within our own hearts the conviction that we should be obeying this command, doesn’t it make perfect sense and just spiritually right that we should be seeking to obey this command? The obvious answer is “Of course.”
Now we could apply this little scenario to any of God’s commands, but I want to tie it into one. It is one that I believe is the most important in the lives of Christians and churches. It will be the determining factor in how much we grow in the Lord and how influential we will be for the Lord. It is the command to “pray without ceasing” and particularly with other Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Before we move on, I am aware, and have been told by other Christians that the Bible never commands us to pray with other believers. I get that, however, I believe that statement is a dangerous one, and actually reveals more of an attempt to justify not praying with other believers than being “biblical.” Friends, we cannot dismiss the many examples of God’s desire for His people to pray together in His Word. It was practiced by the Lord Jesus with His disciples. It was the setting in which Pentecost occurred. It has proven throughout church history where God meets His people with winds of revival. To assume a position of “I don’t have to pray with other believers” is a shallow understanding of what God expects in our ministering to one another and practicing the command of mutual encouragement (Hebrews 10:23-25). On a personal note, when someone says to me things like, “I don’t have to attend Bible studies outside of Sunday to be a good Christian” or “I don’t have to meet during the week to pray with other believers”, my response is, “No, you don’t have to, but my question is ‘Why wouldn’t you want to and make the want to become habit?” Think about that if you are one of those “I don’t have to” type of Christians. But let’s get back to praying together.
When it comes to praying together, it will not be easy because of its importance. We will meet spiritual opposition by the devil, world, and our flesh. Yet, based on the Biblical and church history, no one, except for physical limitations, is excused from this practice. It is expected of God, and when not practiced, it is likely because of laziness, lack of self-denial, self-control, and simply isn’t seen for its importance in the spiritual health of the Christian. Yes, I know of the challenges we face, and it might take some creative scheduling and sacrifices in our homes to make this a habit. But oh the rewards are worth it! Praying together is the gateway to greater joy in the Lord. It is the means to practice love with other believers. It is the chief way to spiritually encourage Christians. It is a necessity for spiritual growth. And without it, we simply will not mature in the faith as God would have us. There is a joy and spiritual intimacy in the Lord and among other believers that cannot be experienced without this practice.
So, take time and evaluate where we are in the practice of praying with other Christians. The evaluation might be painful if this practice is missing in our lives, but let the pain lead us to change – a change that will propel us to greater joy in the Lord and fellowship among His people.
PRAYER: “Father, help me see Your heart toward prayer that it moves my heart to prayer – alone and with Your people.”
QUOTE: “There is only one place we need to evaluate how well and close we are to the Lord – our prayer lives”