One of the most fundamental ways we live out our faith as Christians is to pray. By bringing our requests to our Heavenly Father we demonstrate our belief that He is God and Jesus Christ is His son, by our action in coming to Him we deepen our relationship with Him.
In James letter to the early Christians he encourages them with these words :-
ch 5 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Just as muscles in our body need to be exercised and used to be strong and healthy we need to exercise our faith by using it. Our faith is exercised when we pray for others and expect God to hear and answer us. As we receive answers to our prayers our faith grows, we trust and rely on our Heavenly Father more and we become bolder in offering to pray for others inside and outside of the Church. Living out our faith in this way we can bless those around us. As I work in open house our community drop in during the week, there are many opportunities to pray for people, it is a way to show our love and care for them, I cannot remember anyone being other than positive about the experience. We can offer to pray for people wherever we are, It is one of the ways we bring the kingdom of God in the now.
At Hope church we believe we are all able to pray for each other, it is not a job for experts or just for church leaders. We offer training sessions to increase our confidence in our ability to pray and we have some guidelines to help us, and the people asking for prayer to feel safe.
In Matthew 18 we are told to be like children. Little children are often not backward in asking for things, in a secure family environment they can be sure they will receive good things when they ask.(although maybe not everything they demand). We can be the same way with our requests of our Heavenly Father He loves us to share our needs with him. Although He is all knowing and all powerful He chooses to work through our prayers as He loves us to come and ask Him for the things we need.(See Matt ch7 v7)
As we meet together as God’s family many different issues may be helped by prayer ministry, we are not meant to be alone but God has placed us in His church so that we can help each other. During our services or meetings we may be challenged to act on something, need to forgive someone, need to repent, need to receive healing or be struggling with fear, or would just like The Holy Spirit to refresh us, whatever it is as we pray for each other in Jesus name the Holy Spirit works to bless heal and restore.
Jesus said we would do all the things He did. So let’s grow in faith as we use this precious gift.
Written by Theresa Middleton – Pastoral Lead, Hope Church Luton