“What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men -- men of prayer.
Those are the words of E.M. Bounds (1835-1913). He was a pastor around the time of the American Civil War , and his writings on prayer remain a great challenge to me . His words remain relevant in an age where relatively few people can see their way clear to spend more time in prayer , let alone be a part of a corporate prayer meeting of the Church . God has commanded prayer to be one of the chief disciplines of the Christian church . It therefore ought not only to be the habitual practice of every Christian , but there should be evidence that the church engages in corporate prayer . Absence of prayer means an absence of confidence in God , since the simplest definition of prayer is “speaking to God “. How can we not speak to our heavenly Father?
The apostolic method used to sustain the life , health and progress of the church was by prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:1-7) , and we have no reason to change these priorities in our day.
I write this as our church is about to embark upon a prayer week which we commonly have at the beginning of each year. Prayer reminds us that “our help is in the name of the Lord who has made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 12:8)
Our church had also decided a few years ago that we should have also have a week of prayer in the middle of the year, when our spirits seem to be sagging.
We are convinced from the Scripture that the church is among other things a house of prayer. Our worship services ought to be punctuated with all kinds of prayer , whether they be prayers of praise , confession, thanksgiving or intercession.To pray is to worship.
In our evening services we pray for different countries of the world. “Operation World” helps us to pray for the progress of the gospel in every country of the world. A useful internet link to help you to do this is: http://www.operationworld.org . Another helpful resource for world prayer is found at http://www.gracechurchdirectory.com/world/index.htm
In many churches prayer sadly no longer constitutes an act of worship. Surely, if there'd be a solid argument for what elements should constitute regulative principles of worship , then prayer must be a part of that, and regular prayer meetings of the whole church should be a given fact and not an antiquated and curious habit of history !