The clearest instructions about church life come when Paul tells young Timothy how to proceed. “I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:1).
Later in the same chapter (verse 8) Paul says, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” That is a sign of a Christian church.
The book of Revelation says that when the twenty-four elders fall at the feet of Jesus, each one will have a golden bowl—and do you know what’s in the bowls? What is this incense that is so fragrant to Christ? “The prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).
Just imagine . . . you and I kneel or stand or sit down to pray, really opening our hearts to God—and what we say is so precious to Him that He keeps it like a treasure.
Do you know of a church in your community that says because prayer is so great, so central to Jesus’ definition of the church, that on a prominent night of the week they are going to concentrate on prayer . . . with all their leaders present?
For myself, I have decided that our church’s Tuesday night prayer meeting is so crucial that I will never be out of town two Tuesdays in a row. If that means that I cannot accept certain speaking invitations, so be it. Why would I prefer to be anywhere else?
The Bible has all these promises:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
“You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).
Isn’t it time to say, “Stop! We’re going to pray, because God said that when we pray, He will intervene.”
Jim Cymbala began Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson and a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.