#782. FOLLOW THE CONDUCTOR (30/3/23)
This week marks the fourth part of our nine-week series, 'Praying Together,' where we explore the power and significance of communal prayer. Our series draws inspiration from the teachings of Mike Betts and his book and course, 'The Prayers of Many.' In this week's devotionals, we delve into the metaphor of an orchestra to illustrate the power and beauty that comes out of harmony and allowing the Spirit to lead us in prayer together.
‘While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.’ (Acts 13:2-3)
Summary: Our praying together is to be directed by the Holy Spirit.
You can watch this devotional at:
An orchestra has to follow the lead of the conductor. Their primary job is to interpret the musical score and to coordinate and direct the musicians to achieve a unified and harmonious performance. The conductor stands on a raised platform facing the orchestra, and typically uses a baton to indicate the tempo, dynamics, and phrasing of the music. They also cue individual musicians and sections of the orchestra to begin playing at the appropriate time and ensure that the overall sound is balanced and blended. Ultimately, the conductor's role is to bring out the best in the musicians and to create a cohesive, polished performance that communicates the composer's intentions to the audience.
Who is the conductor in our prayer meetings? Surely The Holy Spirit is our director. Our reading from Acts 13:2-3 teaches that we are to listen to the Spirit and then pray into what He says.
However, in reality, how does this work? Does it simply mean that we don’t have any agenda but allow people to pray for things as they feel inspired? To be ‘led by the conductor’ - led by the Spirit - in our meetings, means a number of things: 1. FOLLOW THE SPIRIT’S PATTERN
We follow that pattern that the Spirit has given to us in the Bible. The Lord’s prayer begins with Praise before moving on to petitions. This is the normal way that we are to pray as led by the Spirit in His word.
‘Believers gathering to pray need to begin by acknowledging the greatness of their God and their access to Him. It is not wise to begin a prayer meeting by completely focusing on the problem or challenges that we face. Like the early believers, we need a big view of God. Like Joshua before Jericho, we need to be more impressed and even overwhelmed by the majesty and omnipotence of the captain of the hosts of the Lord than by the height of Jericho’s walls (Joshua 5:14).’ (Terry Virgo. The Spirit-Filled Church)
2. THE SPIRIT LEADS THROUGH LEADERS
Being led by the Spirit is not in opposition to having leaders. I’ve had many conversations where people have despised leaders because they have wanted to lead things in a different direction from their own opinion. The Spirit, however, wants us to respect that God has given shepherds (Pastors or elders) to the church. We are told:
‘The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.’ (1 Timothy 5:17)
This means that all ministries and meetings are overseen by the elders of a church. They have the responsibility to direct things whilst always being led themselves by what the Spirit is doing in the meeting through the people (We’ll look a little more at the Gifts of the Spirit tomorrow).
3. PRAYING THE SPIRIT-GIVEN WORD
Praying God's word is a powerful way to be led by the Spirit and align our prayers with His will. By speaking the promises of scripture aloud and incorporating them into our prayers, we are declaring truth and inviting God's presence and guidance into our lives. In group prayer settings, it can be especially meaningful to read and pray passages of scripture that are relevant to the prayers being offered. This not only deepens our understanding of God's word, but also strengthens our faith and encourages unity within the group. So, the next time you are in a prayer meeting and a prayer or contribution brings a scripture to mind, consider taking a moment to read and pray it aloud. Your words may have a powerful impact on those around you, and ultimately, draw you closer to God's heart.
4. LISTENING TO WHAT THE SPIRIT IS DOING
Praying as led by the Spirit means that we have our antennae up and pay attention to what others are praying or how the meeting is being led. It would be crazy to be wearing headphones, listening to your own music in an orchestra! Likewise, let’s be in the room and attentive. Let’s be careful not to allow our mood, pet subjects and recent YouTube diet to distract us from how we are being led to pray. Terry virgo writes of this:
‘We don’t want anyone to take us on an inspired tour around the world’s trouble spots! We need to know what is our immediate goal and then follow one another and agree with one another in prayer. So, if our subject is this weekend’s evangelistic endeavour, we draw attention to that and stay with it. No one needs to be too lengthy and we remain with the theme until we have prayed it through. Sometimes we might raise our voices together as in Acts 4. Sometimes we break up into groups of two or three. Sometimes we endorse the prayers of individuals with our “amens”, each of us entering into the other’s prayers…’ (Terry Virgo. Spirit-Filled Church).
RESPONSE - BE LED BY THE SPIRIT IN OUR PRAYER MEETINGS BY LISTENING TO ONE ANOTHER
Our praying together is to be directed by the Holy Spirit. Being led by the Spirit in prayer is a big subject. However a simple application is to listen to one another. Listen so as to pray into what’s being shared. If your contribution or prayer is a complete change of direction, think carefully or talk to a leader before sharing.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
‘What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?’
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: