Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:19-20: “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Several years ago, a group of deacons at our church decided to start an informal prayer group. The prayer group is not very large in number, but it is a faithful and committed group. We take very seriously the opportunity to meet one Monday night a month to pray for our fellow church members and our church. For those of you that attend Milledge Avenue Baptist Church, you may not even know of our deacon prayer group but it is very possible that we have prayed for you on many occasions.
Davin Welter was the driving force behind starting this group, and he has provided exceptional leadership and encouragement in keeping the group together. Without Davin’s leadership, this group probably would have ceased to function. Davin begins our time together by going over the list of people in our congregation that are sick, homebound, or recovering from a hospital stay.
We also pray for our members that are in assisted living homes, nursing homes or in Alzheimer’s care facilities. Many times we pray for folks that are just going through a difficult period in their lives. We also pray for those in our church family that are grieving the loss of a dear, loved one. We pray for our church leaders and our church staff and for each other. We celebrate praises and blessings and sometimes we share some tears.
Our prayers are not perfect and many times they are probably just plain awkward. However, our prayers are sincere and from the heart, as we pray with confidence to God in heaven. We trust that God hears our prayers and we believe that Christ is there with us as we gather in our empty, quiet sanctuary to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jesus’ ministry was characterized by prayer. The gospels refer to the fact that Jesus prayed and prayed often. In the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as a model and instructor in prayer, especially in Luke’s Gospel, where he prays at decisive moments: his baptism (3:21), the calling of his disciples (6:12), transfiguration (9:29), Gethsemane (22:39-46), and his crucifixion (23:46). The major prayers attributed to Jesus, however, are in Matthew (6:9-13, the Lord’s Prayer), and John (chapter 17, the High Priestly Prayer) where Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and all future believers.
Sometimes our prayers are not answered, or not answered in the way we expected. As believers, all we can do is pray in trust and confidence. We can often learn valuable lessons in trust and patience during times of difficulty and testing. Trials are not necessarily sent by God, but they can always be used by God to draw us closer to Him. Such times of difficulty often prepare us for God’s best that is still awaiting us.
Prayer binds the church together as nothing else can. As we gather the fourth Monday night of each month we make the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ our prayer concerns. Prayer knits us together as believers and it helps us to grow stronger in our love for each other and for God.
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, reminds us to, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”