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9th August 2015
We read in Acts 12 about the ferocity of the persecution of the early church. We join the story just after Herod has killed James and imprisoned Peter. In the middle of the night, Peter is released by an angel and goes to where many of the church are gathered, praying earnestly through the night.
Prayer wasn't something the early church just did in a crisis. They'd learnt to pray from Jesus and it was part of their everyday lives. In Acts 2 we read that they were devoting themselves to prayer; in Acts 4 the place in which they were gathered was shaken when they prayed; in Acts 10 Peter was given a vision to take the gospel to the Gentiles when he was praying.
The first disciples prayed. It was a fundamental part of their lives. Wayne Grudem defines prayer as "personal communication with God". We get to speak to our Father in heaven and hear from Him and experience Him. We know that good communication is key to all of our relationships – it's how they deepen and grow. It's the same in our relationship with God.
It's in our personal conversations with God that our faith grows; that's where we're strengthened and become increasingly courageous. We can so easily, in our society, be self-reliant, but actually we are called to be those who are totally dependent on God for the strength and wisdom that we need.
Prayer is so important to us for a number of reasons:
1. It enables us to get a right vision of God – when we spend time with Him, we learn more about His character, His holiness, His majesty, His grace, etc., etc. Prayer reminds us of who God is and so enables us to have a right perspective of Him.
2. It emphasises our dependency on God – we're often slow to pray, thinking that we can sort things out ourselves or not wanting to bother God, but prayer shouldn't be something we do as a last resort, when we've exhausted all of our own resources. It should be our starting place.
3. Prayer brings supernatural intervention – when we pray we are coming to our heavenly Father who can intervene with signs, wonders and miracles. Prayer takes us from spectating to participating, as we call down God's supernatural power into our communities and situations.
4. It deepens our own relationship with God – as we walk with Him, hearing His voice and responding, we grow closer to Him. It's also when we pray that God highlights areas of our lives where we need to repent and receive His forgiveness. It's really important to cultivate a habit of praying. When we build prayer into our routine, it becomes a joy, as well as a strength in our times of need.
"I have come to know God a whole lot better since I slowed down to pray. I have been astonished by His approachability, endeared by His care, stilled by His presence, encouraged by His affirmation and challenged by His insatiable desire to make the truth known." (Bill Hybels)
5. Prayer builds us together as a church – in Matthew 18 we read that Jesus said that when two or three of us are gathered and agree in prayer, God will answer. It's good to pray together: when we do, we're encouraged and inspired and are built together.
6. Answered prayer strengthens our faith – our faith is founded on the knowledge and understanding that God is good. He listens to our prayers, prompting and directing us about how to pray, and then answering us.
7. Don't let disappointments put you off – we trust God through the painful times, through the times we don't understand. In Acts 12 we read that James had just been killed; no doubt the disciples had been praying for Him, yet He died. This didn't deter them from praying for Peter when he was in prison. Sometimes God doesn't answer us in the way we want Him to. We don't always understand why or why not; we can't always explain it, but we keep trusting God because we know He is good.
Why don't you resolve, over the coming days and weeks, to go deeper in your personal relationship with God by setting aside time to pray each day?
In September we have a week of prayer and our 7am Sunday morning prayer meetings start up again. Why don't you come along and pray with us?
Posted by Steve Young
9th October 2014
Last week a group of us from King's – including the three of us on Impact – spent two days in Sidcup praying with around 200 other leaders from our New Ground family of churches. As an Impacter I was interested to find out about how Prayer & Equipping works. Formerly it's been known as Prayer and Fasting, but it's been no secret that everyone sneaks off for a curry in the evening between prayer sessions!
The main aim during these two New Ground prayer days is really just to seek God and pray into what He has promised for us. Each session began with a time of worship, which was deep, passionate and intimate, with a whole-hearted focus on honouring Jesus and putting him at the forefront of everything we would be praying for.
The phrase 'covered in prayer' possibly wouldn't do justice to the amount that we sought God for over the two days. A whole spectrum of subjects were raised, from the New Ground weekend in Ashburnham next August and the 321 guests on Alpha courses in our churches, to the hearts of the generation of 20s and 30s, and the strengthening of marriages in the UK.
For me, one of the stand-out sessions focused on praying for the nations within Europe. Though I haven't felt a strong calling to Europe before, one of the things that God put on my heart as we prayed was the political situation in many European nations, and about the powerful influence of the EU: with this in mind, I found that God had more to say about the power of His Church, and that His vision reaches more widely than ours ever could.
My fellow Impacters Zoe and Tamara agreed that this session was a highlight. Zoe said: "Praying for Europe was really insightful – I felt much more connected to the other nations." Tamara added that she "really enjoyed meeting with friends, and with leaders from other churches in New Ground".
Renowned speakers such as Adrian Holloway, who has spoken regularly at Newday, and Phil Moore, led different sessions. Phil's preach focused on the early 20th century missionary James Fraser, who had a huge calling over his life to reach Lisuland, a remote area of China that hadn't been reached by the gospel. As Phil explained, many lessons could be learnt from Fraser's trepidation, but also about how God works and how He is always faithful. One of Fraser's memorable quotes was: "I feel my weakness very much, yet the Lord seems to delight in making His power perfect in weakness."
The evening's curry and following day's McDonald's were also highlights of an intense two days! But even over food we found ourselves talking about everything that God had done and spoken to us about already. I'm full of faith that these two days have not only helped us to persevere in prayer with big issues, and in a sense to widen our field of vision, but also that God has used this time to equip us for the coming months and years, and to learn to follow Him more passionately.
Posted by Sian Francis-Cox
25th May 2014
Each day during our May 2014 Week of Prayer, Adrian Pursglove has been blogging on the subject of prayer. Here's a snippet from today's blog, which is the final one in the series...
Reading: Romans 8:18-30
There are three sort of groaning in this passage that I think are significant: the groans come from creation, ourselves and the Holy Spirit. The groanings are all going on because the world is not right in its current state.
Posted by Adrian Pursglove
24th May 2014
Each day during our May 2014 Week of Prayer, Adrian Pursglove is blogging on the subject of prayer. Here's a snippet from today's blog...
Reading: Habakkuk 3
The prophet Habakkuk’s prayer is both a song of praise and a plea for mercy, and is the perfect picture of a believer recognising God’s power while earnestly asking for that power to defend God’s children from hardship...
Read this blog post in full here. Find details of the Week of Prayer meetings here.
Posted by Adrian Pursglove
30.04.17 | 07:00 — 08:00 | Coffee Box |
07.05.17 | 07:00 — 08:00 | Coffee Box |
14.05.17 | 07:00 — 08:00 | Coffee Box |
18.05.17 | 12:30 — 13:30 | Hastings Centre |