The title popped in my head as I consider the significance of prayer and the spiritual condition of the church.
A few weeks ago my preacher, Harold Keck, preached a sermon on Genuine Worshipers from I Timothy 2:1-15. First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (ESV). The point to be made is that Genuine worshipers talk with God.
Side note here…Paul is even saying to pray for kings… political leaders and one of the leaders in Paul’s day was Nero who was the worst of the persecutors of Jesus followers. History would suggest that this is the man who fed Christians to the lions, used Christians as human torches in his gardens and yet Paul says to pray for people such as this.
In a previous worship ministry I was told by one of the church leaders that “I just want to see people sing and involved in the service”. As I look back over the past couple of years I come to the realization that those who are intently seeking God in prayer and in the Scriptures are those who are more likely to draw close to him by participating in a corporate worship service. If a church isn’t a worshiping church then one must consider the spiritual health of the church. This is where I think discipleship and worship walk hand in hand. I have prayed more, studied more scripture in recent months than I have in a long time and it affects the passion and intensity of my worship of God.
Prayer was an essential aspect of worship in the 1st century church yet it is so often rushed through today if not ignored altogether. I may have said this in my last post but a couple of weeks ago we were at the Deer Run Church in South Bend, IN and at the close my brother in-law stood to pray but before he did he said that there where many on the prayer list and asked everyone to pray not just for those on the list but to ask God how we might be a help or an encouragement to them. I am not sure when I last heard that kind of a request in a church. It all starts with an active prayer life, intense hunger for being in the Bible. I have heard it said recently that we often don’t just sit in silence and prepare ourselves to listen when we enter into God’s presence in prayer. Likewise we don’t read Scriptures with the expectation that God will speak to us. Maybe we have lost that lovin’ feeling and need to pray continually that God will develop a hunger in us for the Word and for a renewed love for Him.