And He said to them, "It is written,'My house shall be called a house of prayer,’…”
Matthew 21:13 NKJV

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Don't Think Prayer is an Option

Rachel Hauck
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

I don’t think prayer is an option. Paul admonished the Believers in Thessalonica, “pray without ceasing” Th. 5:17. But somehow the business and distractions of this life squeeze out prayer. I’ve been guilty of a prayerless life. Days going by without much more than a few sentences to the One who loves me. A few blips of tongues here and there. Yet I know prayer is cornerstone of every Believer’s life. Prayer is merely talking to God from our hearts, from His own word. Prayer is the Body of Christ joining together to touch heaven.

So let me appeal to our base human instinct: selfishness. “What about me?” If initially we can’t go to God because His worthiness is beyond our limited human grasp, then let’s go to Him because our desire is for pleasure, to have it “well with my soul.”

We are more than willing to getting up early for the gym, or breakfast with a friend, or staying up late to watch Leno or Letterman (do people do that anymore?) because we enjoy it all. We find some kind of value in it. We get a rush from doing what we love. So, how about we plug in to God time with the same passion and desire?

Look, I’m not saying skip the gym or breakfast with friends. I love both of those things. And I’ve had my fair share of late night laughs, but if those things are choking out prayer, why not exchange those temporal pleasure for eternal ones? Work is the same. Some days I head straight to work. I feel so pressed to meet a deadline and skip God time. How many workouts have we sweated through, not enjoying it? How many so-so television shows have we watched just to catch the one or two exciting episodes of the season? How many sporting events have we dozed off watching only to wake up for an exciting, or not-so-exciting finish? How many hours of the working day have we blown surfing the internet? Oh, is that only me? My bad… Oops.

Yet we do all those things because we love them. We are devoted to our routines, our shows, our passions. So why can’t we put the same energy and passion toward prayer? “Ah, it’s boring. I don’t get the point. If God is sovereign, what good will my prayers do?”

Lots! For one thing, how do you know God’s sovereignty isn’t contingent on His Beloved partnering with Him in prayer? How do we know God is just waiting, hanging over the balcony of heaven, dreaming of releasing an answer to our prayers the moment we utter them? He does not have it all planned out without our hearts and words in mind.

If we’re willing to endure the “boring” things of getting in shape, learning an instrument, or craft, or enduring entertainment in it’s drab moments, or the doldrums of work, why can’t we give the same consideration to the greatest activity we’ll ever endure? Prayer. The privilege and honor of engaging the Almighty because He wants to hear from us. Let’s work on upping our game. Run the race to win.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Main Thing About Prayer

Tony Hauck
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

Peter Lord once said, “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”.  This is a great life philosophy.  Short and to the point, it implies two fundamental principles.  Know what is important, and don’t get distracted by what isn’t important.  But sometimes identifying what is important is harder than we realize.

Take prayer for example.  We know it’s important, but why?  Because He said so?  Because it’s how we get stuff to happen?  Those reasons may motivate for a while, but my experience is that they don’t  remain long term.  I’ve seen many prayer groups start out strong praying for a move of God, but dwindle over time when the answer didn’t come.  What if the answer comes only after years of praying?  What keeps us going?

It’s easy to “grow weary in well doing” when we focus on results.  So I’ve been trying to refocus on the real reason we pray.

In Genesis 15:1 God told Abraham, “I am your exceedingly great reward”.  And that’s why we pray; to have Him.  If that is my reason, my reward in prayer, it really doesn’t matter if answers are years away.  I can have Him every time.  The main thing; one criteria of a successful prayer time.  Did I connect with Him?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Effective Together!

Gary Stebbins
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

Jesus would often slip aside from the crowds and even the disciples to pray. On one such occasion a disciple of Jesus said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples” (Lk 11.1). Jesus instructed His disciples how to pray with what we call today the Lord’s Prayer. Certainly this prayer has served as a model of prayer for two thousand years. There is however another principle of prayer that Jesus taught the disciples that I believe is equally important, but one the church has not taken hold of as clearly. We find this in Matthew 18, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven” (Mat 18.19).

“If two of you agree on earth.” Prayer of any type is very important. There is however something very significant about praying together in agreement. This can only happen when two or more people make the decision to come together and pray. This is part of God’s plan and purpose for the church- to gather together and pray. As we read in the book of James, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (Jam 5.16). Certainly our individual prayer’s can be very effective, but there is something beyond individual prayer that takes place when believers gather together to pray. As the church gathers together in unity and comes into alignment with God’s will and purposes, great things can happen. The effectiveness of our individual prayers is greatly increased through the principle of agreeing and crying out together to God. Matthew says that as we come together, “anything they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” This is a very significant promise that the Lord has given to His church. The power of agreement greatly increases our effectiveness in prayer. There are things that will only be accomplished as the church gathers together to pray.

There is another dynamic that praying together with other believers brings. We see this as we read on in Matthew 18, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Mat 18.20). There is something about the power of agreement that draws the very presence of God. God responds to His people when they gather together in unity and cry out to Him.

As I have taken time to look at the verses above, I have been encouraged that we need to continue to press forward with MyHop and other corporate gatherings where the church comes together in agreement to pray. There is much power in prayer. To think that we can move the heart of the Creator and invoke His response to our prayers is an absolutely humbling thought.

We serve a wonderful God. Consider taking time to gather together with other believers to pray. You will be greatly blessed as you do.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Be Fervent!

Bonnie Stebbins
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

Js 5:16 – The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Fervent! On Fire! If your prayers are not fervent, they will not be effective. Does your heart burn within you when you pray, or is it lukewarm? Jesus says He is not pleased with us being lukewarm (Rev 3:16). Our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). If He lives within us, should our heart not be on fire, too? The prophet Daniel gives us a wonderful example of fervent prayer. In Daniel 9 we see his heart on fire, pleading for God’s mercy for the captive Jews. The result was an angelic visitation and prophetic revelation. Let us learn how to pray as Daniel did, fervently with our hearts on fire. Let the compassion of God and your love for Him fuel the fire of your heart. Pray fervently