Dear Lord, You have brought family members and friends into my life. Let me love them, let me help them, let me treasure them, and let me lead them to You. Our community is a blessing to each one of us. I desire, as a prayer warrior to pray with all my sisters and brothers, but things get in the way; please forgive me Lord. Bless us to pray as a Christian community together, even if we are not here online. Bless our hearts to join together in prayer for our community here, and community wherever we may be. Jesus prayed in the community, and we desire to do the same. We ask that You bless eyes to be open to pray more for our Church community, family community, friend community, and whosoever we meet community. Bless us to learn from this study concerning praying in and for the community. We pray for a powerful move of God's Holy Spirit upon this earth. Move, Lord Jesus, move on us as the Body of Christ to pray more in these last days. Change hearts, Lord, change hearts in every community. We pray that the Holy Spirit will move us to honor, glorify, and respect our Father in Heaven. Holy Spirit, convince the world of wrong doing right now in Jesus' name. Help us to embrace a true sense of repentance in our communities everywhere. We pray the prayer of Numbers 6:24-27; "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." AMEN.
Scriptures: Matthew 18:19, Luke 9:28, Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:23; Matthew 14:19; Matthew 15:36; Acts 27:35; I Corinthians 11:24
Lesson 4 Jesus prayed in community.
This is a short lesson, but very important to our witness for the Lord.
Jesus practiced what he preached. He not only prayed alone, as the previous study discussed; but he also prayed with other people in community and gatherings. Let's contrast two verses in close proximity to one another:
First, notice that Jesus prayed privately: "While He was praying in private . . ." (Luke 9:18). But then he balances private prayer with group praying: "About eight days after these words, He took along Peter, John, and James, and went up on the mountain to pray." (Luke 9:28) Our relationship with God is personal but not private. Jesus balanced his personal relationship with the Father with the community aspects of prayer. In other words, Jesus not only encourages us to get alone to pray; he also wants us to pray with others. AMEN.
Praying with the people of God is foundational to worship. Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them." (Matthew 18:20) Community worship was a vital part of Jewish life. Community worship is a vital part of our worship, too. And, we can't worship without praying to God. Jesus reminded his hearers that the temple was to be a house of prayer for the nations (Mark 11:17).
It is no accident that the Lord's Prayer begins not with "My Father," but with "Our Father." We have many recorded prayers of Jesus. Why is that? Well, that is because those prayers were uttered in the company of other people. Jesus wants us to be on our guard with a "me and Jesus only" approach to God. Jesus criticized the Pharisee who distanced himself from others in his prayers. Read Luke 18:10-11 Jesus pointed out that the Pharisee stood by himself. I think this is an intentional jab at an individualistic approach to God. We all have blind spots and we need the discernment and wisdom of others to point out those flaws. Praying with others helps identify our weakness and needs. Group prayer strengthens private prayer.
Praying in Community for the World:
Abiding in Jesus on behalf of our global community
What a wonderful opportunity we have as followers of Jesus to pray together with our community.
Praying together could bring more joy than we expect. The reason is that our Lord Jesus Christ encourages us to intercede to the Father on behalf of others. When we pray, that God's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven we are acting on God's promise that the World will be affected by our prayers. We intercede with the assurance of being heard. This world includes our global community and also our immediate community, our nation, our state, our city, our neighborhood, and our own family. Jesus teaches that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him. Prayer and interceding is our way to abide in Jesus. How can we abide during these days of troubles and the advancement of darkness in this world? By praying and putting action to our beliefs. In other words, envisioning this global community: nation, state, city, neighborhood, and family as it is in heaven. But how? Let's begin with our own hearts.
Believers pray together:
• Together, ask the Lord for a clean heart. What does the Lord want to remove from your inner being? Ask for forgiveness. What is blocking you from showing God's love to your community? Remember, you want to see your world as it is in heaven, and that will start in your own world.
• Together, pray for open eyes. Eyes that can see injustice, poverty, racism, corruption, wasted food, prostitution, human trafficking, consumerism, materialism, etc., and eyes that keep us from seeing the hurt. The Scripture says that the prince of this world blinds our understanding so that we do not believe. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
• Together, pray that you and others may not give into human philosophies and religious beliefs that are blocking the knowledge of Jesus.
• Together, pray for our neighborhood, city, state, and nation, asking for forgiveness for the past and present actions against God's sovereignty.
• Together, pray about your own lack of involvement and that of your church in the things God desires for your community.
• Together, pray for a powerful move of God's Spirit that will put the chaos of this world in the right order according to heaven. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convince the world of wrong doing. Pray that we will embrace a true sense of repentance.
• Together, pray a blessing for your enemies in your community, your city, your world. Bless your enemies, Jesus says, in order to be like your heavenly Father.
• Together, pray for opportunities to express God's love in your world.
• Together, pray for the authorities, their advisors, their families, etc. Pray that their agenda and beliefs would be guided by the Holy Spirit.
In what ways is God asking you to be an answer to these prayers?
Is there one step God is inviting your church to take for the sake of seeing his kingdom come on earth?
Week # 4 PRIVATE DEVOTIONS TIME: Solitary Communion (Luke 5:15-16)
"15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed."
Week # 4 NOTABLE PRAYERS: Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
"9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."
Week # 4 QUESTIONS:
1). Name some places Jesus prayed in solitary.
2). What kind of prayer was Jabez's prayer?
3). What is the difference between a prayer focus and a prayer request?
Week # 4 PRAYER FOCUS:
I want to be more sensitive to pray for others, and to join in with others believers in prayer more often than I do now. Seek God's face concerning community prayer.
Week # 4 PRAYER REQUEST:
Pray for believers to use the kingdom model, "On earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)
Week # 4 APPLY IT: A Daily Quiet Time with God
Week # 4 THOUGHT4TODAY:
Ponder how you can more consistently live in the Light of My presence, celebrating your relationship with Me.
Week # 4 Reading Assignments……Book of Genesis Chapters 16-20