Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,1Th 5:17
pray without ceasing,Eph 6:18
praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—Phil 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
In these 4 scriptures there is a precedence set by the Lord, “men should always pray.Mk 11:15 –Mk 11:17
So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”
This passage (verse 17) is also found in Mt.21:13 and Luke 19:46
In the following word on prayer, the word Christian or people of God terms are used to define someone sold out to God. Someone surrendered and abandoned to Jesus for His purpose – live or die…They are not looking for Glory or status. They live their lives for the audience of one whether working or “ministering”. There is no definition of an actual prayer as Jesus’ life is our demonstration.
The reality of Christianity is not that we pray, but that we are to be “a house of prayer.” Thus “strategic prayer” is the communication with God that leads us to His purpose and glory as we live, work and minister as His chosen people.
Jesus demonstrated this lifestyle in saying to us that He does nothing but what the Father shows or tells Him to do. He did not come to do His will but the will of Father. Fathers’ specific will for each of us to walk can only be discovered through prayer that listens and hears, as well as speaks.
When Jesus left He told us that we were sent “just like Him”(Jn.20:21). Jesus exemplified what a “house of prayer” is to look like. WE must be about His will not ours. Prayer defined by Jesus might look something like this today; Plug head phones into your phone, dial Jer.33:3 and then NEVER break the connection! We should listen more than we speak and respond to Father rather than dictate to God what we are going to do. Rather than asking Him to Bless “our ideas”, we should be finding the desire of His heart for our direction. Remember, “not my will be done but Yours”. Without close, dynamic fellowship with Father, we cannot walk out His will today anymore than Jesus could in His day. Obeying takes hearing. Hearing takes communion. Strategic prayer is intimate conversation with Father, communion ( the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, esp. when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level):. The result of intimate conversations with Father is an obedience to His desires.
If we are to pray without ceasing and be a house of prayer, our concept of prayer will have to change. But before we go there, let’s look at this statement, “men” at the beginning of Jesus statement in Luke 18:1 and “brothers” in Paul’s statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 — In both cases they are talking to “all” believers”.
So how is it that we allot this duty of prayer to a few and not “ALL”? We call people who pray a lot “intercessors” then relegate the burden of prayer to them. How is it that we do not find “a ministry of prayer” as a calling, gift or vocation in the New Testament outside of “everyone should pray”? This statement should become a challenge to prayer or ministry leaders to incorporate all Christians into the place of dynamic fellowship with Jesus that will change Christian praying and thus power.
Praying without ceasing and being a house of prayer is being in God’s presence, listening and displaying trust while we work and live our lives in this world. We do not need to be focused on religious agenda’s to be listening to Father. Prayer is so much more than religious encounters or moments. God came and walked with Adam. I wonder what they talked about? He came and visited Abraham. Moses was a governor of the people and dealt with many issues outside of religion. All these men and many others written of in the bible needed God’s heart for them to carry out the profession or duties they walked. Prayer is about life and living our lives with God. It is for ALL.
Father has so many times helped me do my work and helped me with little problems that has nothing to do with “religious Christianity”. I am not sure we need more intercessors but I am sure we all need more intimacy with Father. Then there would be more intercession!
At the beginning of the Church era we find a statement made by the twelve Disciples when it came to managing the daily needs of the Church. They stated;
Acts 6:3 –Acts 6:4
Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (emphasis mine)
From this scripture we have come up with setting ourselves aside to pray, but this scripture does not say that the apostles did that. They were to continually pray AND minister the word. (remember there was no “scripture book” for Christians until the late 1400’s and then in limited quantity for a bit more time). For them to walk with God in power and Love they would have to HEAR through Holy Spirit what to do and say.
We see in the book of Acts that to “minister the word” was to GO, preach, heal the sick, cast out demons, and to establish the Kingdom of God in the known world in and outside Jerusalem. They were to reach the lost everywhere.
We all should be in intercession and devoting ourselves to Prayer – and ministering the Word. Without the last part, the first part is incomplete. Those who pray must GO and make disciples also.
In the “discipleship making movement” (DMM) (CPM) going on in India prayer is not just an activity but is the life of what is happening. Talking with those in China involved in what is going on there, it is the same. Anywhere I go in the world I find that if there is a movement of any kind going on, “the people of God” are praying — Not just a few but most are involved in praying and going!. The prayers look a lot different than what I find in the US where I live. The prayers of those involved in a DMM or CPM are about “others” and “where do we go next to share the Gospel” “where is the stronghold of the enemy and how do we destroy his power in our area”. The focus of the small believers gatherings are centered on “listening prayers” and obedience to the voice of God heard as all pray and seek His heart’s desire. The groups that gather focus on the commission of Christ – to seek and save the lost and make disciples of all nations, not on “getting into God’s presence” or “having His Glory manifest” through a time of prayer and worship.
This focus of prayer by Christ’s disciples upon those outside the body of Christ needs to be our focus also. Prayer should be more than just petition. Christianity is a body ministry, all are involved, not just a few. Prayer, communion with God, is the foundation and through listening prayer Holy Spirit guides us into action that brings the fulfillment of God’s desires to pass on earth.
I can find nowhere in the NT where the believers gathered and “bound the principalities and powers” over an area. I do find where they cast out demons, spoke words over people, healed the sick and confronted sin with God’s power. They seem to always be dealing with the people who “housed” the principalities and powers of the enemy. In Acts 4; The “followers of the Way” prayed together this prayer —
Acts 4:29 –Acts 4:30
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
I wonder if we should concentrate more on being like Christ, than trying to look spiritual. God once told me that walking in the Spirit is not a spiritual attitude but a place to live in.
We really should ask ourselves why we do the things we are doing? Why do we pray what we pray? Where do we get some of our ideas about prayer and Christian life? We follow way too many traditions of men and not enough of God’s commands and dictates. We need to entreat the idea of a paradigm shift back to the Word and God’s voice to guide our prayer, going, and living.
If we are to see God’s Glory cover the earth, then “ALL” must begin to pray Jesus style prayers that concentrates on Father’s will and OTHERS —- then obey as the man Jesus did!
A ministry of prayer should be that which engages others in the commission of Christ by being an example (1 Pet.5:3-4), through discipleship, preaching and a demonstration of His power and love in our walk. It is not about special prayers or the commission of intercession that all are called to. Intercession is the essence of the Christ-centered life lived out in work and play by all who call themselves Christ’s. If we are “prayer” leaders, we must engage in ministry of the word to the world also. Our focus should not be prayer, but Father’s desire and living out the life of Christ amongst the lame, blind, and halt demonstrating the Kingdom. Prayer is the natural state of being like Christ.
Luke 10:1-9 (similar passages found in Mt. 10 and Lu. 9) is Jesus method of evangelism.
As you read Jesus only method given to evangelize with, take heed of His directions to carry out His desires. He called no big prayer gathering, no prayer teams went before them, He had no commissioning service, nor did He give them time to raise money to go. There was no prophetic words over them nor any other fanfare. He simply told them, as His disciples, which city to go to, go now! He shared that there would be those who would want to kill or destroy them so be quiet and careful as you go (No loud music or worship times), and then instructed them to find a “man of peace”, pray SHALOM over his house when you enter it, eat, HEAL the sick (do something miraculous that opens a door to share about Jesus) and finally tell them God’s Kingdom is in their house. Then leave.
CAN THIS BE DONE IF YOU DO NOT HEAR FROM JESUS? OR CAN YOU GO WITHOUT CONTINUING TO LISTEN AS YOU WALK OR GO TO DO HIS BIDDING? That is strategic prayer.1Co 3:16
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?1Co 6:19
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?1Co 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.1Co 2:4 –1Co 2:5
And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
So with these scriptures in mind, knowing that we are the temple of God (His house) and that the Gospel is a demonstration of word and power, how can we expect to live these out without being in communion with Father, instant in season and out, with words and actions that come from His heart?
To have His heart we must find a new definition of being a “house of Prayer” and what it means to “pray without ceasing”.
Neil W Gamble
All Scripture referenced are in the NKJV.