The need for prayer…
When we look at the life of Jesus, one of the most remarkable aspects of Jesus is His prayer-life. In Mark 1:21-34, the Gospel writer Mark gives us a picture into the daily life of Jesus. Jesus began his day teaching (v. 21-22), but this was interrupted by a man who was demon possessed, so Jesus cast out the demon (vv. 23-28). Straight after teaching and an exorcism, Jesus continued ministering to people, healing folks of their illnesses and exorcising demons from others. This continued until late in the night (vv. 32-34).
Rather than doing what most of us would do (sleep late), we read these remarkable words, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (v. 35). Jesus, God the Son, started His new busy day with prayer to His Father. Most of the Gospel writers would point out that this was a normal pattern for Jesus (Matt. 14:23; Mk. 1:35; 6:46; Lk. 5:16 ; 6:12; 9:28). Prayer was not a tag-on for Jesus or a “nice-to-have”; rather it was His most precious time, time spent with God the Father.
We see the same pattern in the early church. Part of the daily life of the new community of believers was to pray together, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). When faced with persecution, the church’s first resort was to pray, “When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God” (Acts 4:24). Similarly, when Peter was awaiting possible execution, the church responded to the crisis in this way, “the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5).
Why? Prayer is the precious time in which we commune, as Jesus would put it, “with your Father… Our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:6, 9). When we can present to Him all our needs, confessing our deep dependence on Him in accomplishing His plan for His people, and providing for all our physical and spiritual needs (cf. Matt. 6:9-13). This is one of the reasons why Jesus, God the Son, came to die on the Cross, so that we can “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22). No wonder the Apostle Paul continually commands us to, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17); to “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Col. 4:2) and to, “..not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6). We need God in everything and prayer is the ultimate way in which we can express and confess that need.
When do we pray together as a church?
In Fellowship Groups…
Part of our coming together as Fellowship Groups during to week is to pray together. Every meeting has a time of prayer in which we can pray together for one another and the larger church family.
Yet, apart from the weekly times of prayer, we also dedicate one week in each month just to pray together as Fellowship Groups. During this time of prayer St. Peters provides a Prayer sheet which points out all the various aspects of the church and beyond that needs prayer.
Monday Night Prayer Meeting (7:00-7:30pm)
Every Monday evening at 7pm in the church foyer, various folk from the church come together to pray. All are welcome and the more the merrier. It is a wonderful time of encouragement as we lift our hearts to God the Father in prayer.
Missions Prayer Meeting – First Sunday of every month after the morning service
Every first Sunday of the month after the 9:30am service, everyone is invited to join us in a time of prayer specifically dedicated to praying for our missionaries. This is one way in which we can be made aware of the latest news from our missions partners, but also how we can show support by praying for them.
Every opportunity to pray is an opportunity spent with our Father in heaven. What a joy and privilege it is to pray!