This week we continue in our 9-week series entitled ’Praying Together’; this series is loosely based upon the book and course, ‘The Prayers of many’ by Mike Betts. During this series, we want to learn about the importance of corporate prayer.
He said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. This is but a slight thing in the sight of the Lord; He will also give the Moabites into your hand.”’ (2 Kings 3:16-18)
Summary: In Praying together we must have knowing and loving God as our primary goal and not the things that we want God to do for us.
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What are the good things that you want God to do for you? There are many good things that God wants us to pray for personally and corporately. However, it’s easy to make these things idols. If our joy in God is dependent not on Him but on these things, they may have become idols to us.
In the text in 2 Kings 3:16-17 that we have been looking at this week, they are told to dig ditches that God would fill with water for them to drink in the desert. We have seen that this can be used as an illustration for praying together and God answering our prayers. What is this water to you? healing, a relationship? money? promotion? Revival? Surely, this water that satisfies in the desert is, firstly, God Himself. Knowing and loving God is to be our primary goal and not the things that we want God to do for us.
Matthew 6:9-13 is a template for prayer and it begins with worship: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In prayer, we are to pray for our needs, but it begins with worship and aligning our hearts with God.
God is to be our first love, and healthy God-centred prayer helps to maintain this in us. I’m sure that we can all see that if we pray or read the Bible simply out of habit, guilt or because we want a happy life, we are in a dangerous place. This is what we read in the first two of The Ten Commandments:
‘And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.’ (Exodus 20:1-6)
Michael Reeves challenges us on the state of our zeal for God:
‘Sometimes we find ourselves tiring of Jesus, imagining that we have seen all there is to see and used up all the pleasure there is to be had in him. We get spiritually bored. But Jesus has satisfied the mind and heart of the infinite God for eternity. Our boredom is simple blindness. If the Father can be infinitely and eternally satisfied in him, then he must be overwhelmingly all-sufficient for us—in every situation, for all eternity. And that’s why the gospel is not lacking, because he is not lacking.’ (REEVES. AUTHENTIC MINISTRY)
RESPONSE - PRAY ‘UP’ BEFORE ‘DOWN’ AND ‘OUT’
When praying together, we must prioritise knowing and loving God over asking God to do things for us. As a norm, let's begin by praying 'up' through worship and thanksgiving. Let's regularly pray for the Spirit to deepen our knowledge of and love for God. It's good to pray 'down' (for our and others' needs), and 'out' (for those outside of faith), but let's start by pursuing God Himself.
We are all very prone to making idols of ourselves and created things. John Calvin wrote:
‘The human heart is a perpetual idol factory,’
At a recent conference, Dave Holden spoke about the importance of leading and living out of worship:
‘Worship is about magnifying the Lord. When we don’t worship we magnify something else.’ (Dave Holden)
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Let's all get as involved as possible in our week of prayer this week. For details please look at Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
During this series, we will be using the 'Prayers of Many' course by Mike Betts.
I encourage you to buy a copy of the book from: https://prayersofmany.org/book#buybook
If you need assistance in buying a book please send an email to the church office and we will happily purchase you a copy.
Please download the course handbook from: