The Church of Christ Must Pray To Be A People Who Follow the Bible.
As the church is a house of prayer because of the emphasis it gives to prayer, the Bible may be called God’s book of prayer for the same reason. The Church of Christ has always rightfully staked its claim on being a people of the Book. We plead that all churches do Bible things in Bible ways (1 Peter 4:11). We argue that each must go back to the Bible to be right and leave nothing out and add nothing in (Revelation 22:18,19). If we are going to give more than lip-service to the restoration plea, we must not only talk about prayer, we must practice it. The New Testament uses the words pray, prayed, prayers, and praying one hundred and sixty-three times (not counting synonyms such as ask, seek, knock, and petition). By contrast, it uses baptize, baptized, and baptism seventy times. This does not mean that prayer is more important than baptism, but does suggest the emphasis it should receive in Christ’s church. When the scribes and Pharisees murmured against Jesus and asked him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? He said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bride chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days (Luke 5:33-35). Implied in this exchange is the fact that when Jesus went back to heaven, His disciples (church) would fast and pray. Are we living up to His expectations?
We are always to pray and not to faint (Luke 18:1).
What Happens When the Church of Christ Prays?
Prayer is the largely untapped reservoir of blessings that God has for His people. What will God give us for the asking?
God Emboldens Us Through Prayer.
One church prayed, now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word (Acts 4:27). And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness (4:29). God answered their prayer for boldness, and He will answer ours – though in a less direct way. Paul asked Christians to pray for him: ,praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Ephesians 6:18-20). Is it incidental that early Christians were known for both boldness and prayer (cf. Acts 4:13)? Their confidence and aggressiveness were without doubt tied to their prayer lives.
A praying church is constantly reminded that they are fighting on the Lord’s side (Romans 8:31). One of Napoleon’s generals once stated that the appearance of Napoleon on the field of battle was equivalent to a reinforcement of forty thousand men. This reputation stood him in good stead during the campaign that culminated in the great victory of Austerlitz. By some mistake Napoleon had allowed his advance guard to be cut off and hemmed in by the Austrian forces. Taking a sudden resolution, he travelled rapidly through the night and arrived in the French camp just as the troops had awakened to the hopelessness of their predicament and were preparing to surrender. The moment they saw him the whole situation changed. Though the numbers against them were more than ten to one, every soldier suddenly became inspired with the conviction that the enemy was already beaten, and when the envoys arrived from the opposite side to demand their instant capitulation, they laughed in their faces. The dismay of the Austrian officers was extreme, too, when, instead of the dispirited handful of men they had expected to greet, they were ushered into the presence of Napoleon himself. So far from coming to dictate terms to a beaten foe they were sent back to tell their own commander that unless they surrendered without delay they would be annihilated. As a matter of fact they did surrender without striking a blow.
Such is the attitude of those who realize that the Captain of their salvation is on hand to lead them into battle (Hebrews 2:10). With him, five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword (Leviticus 26:8; cf. Numbers 14:9; Deuteronomy 28:7; 1 Chronicles 11:11,20). Joshua also used a mathematical ratio in his parting statement: One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you (23:10). A man who has fortified himself with prayer doesn’t have to do the math, though, as he enters into battle. God is the majority in any confrontation. He stands undefeated, undaunted, and untested.