We believe these are vital days to focus on Jesus and draw close in trust and alignment with our Father and His Spirit’s leading. While the battle rages around us, we can do the part the Spirit empowers us to do, from a place of rest in Jesus’ complete victory, authority and power.
It is so vital that we really know our Lord because only then will we have the conviction and power to truly repent – turn from idolatry in all its forms – and worship Him. There is no worthy substitute for our focus. Jesus overturns our bizarre religious idols – our pride in our superior religious understandings, callings, entitlements, territories, boxed in differences, busy-ness, tight commitment to human agendas and schedules; ‘our’ churches and ministries.
Luke 19:45 Going into the Temple he began to throw out everyone who had set up shop, selling everything and anything. He said, “It’s written in Scripture, My house is a house of prayer; You have turned it into a religious bazaar.”
Are we prepared to throw out everything we have set up so we can be His house of prayer for all people, His glorious resting place? (Isaiah 56:6; 11:10)
I recommend two books that help us sort our stuff from His….
- C. Baxter Kruger, God is For Us – an old book emphasising a vital distinction in how we present who God is. We can be immobilised, rebellious or empowered – by how we think our Father sees us. The good news of the gospel is our Father loved us while we were still sinners and has completely restored us to be His sons and heirs. We are empowered by Christ in us to live victoriously in His kingdom on earth as in heaven!
- Tommi Femrite, Conquering the Religious Spirit – a necessary read for everyone! (Now on sale very cheap ($7) at Koorong!)
Why do we encourage people to unite in prayer?
We need to each do only what the Spirit of the Lord quickens to us, but awareness of what the Father is doing can inspire us to:
- celebrate and uphold in prayer the diverse and precious functions of the Body;
- pray as one across the other prayer ‘rooms’ in God’s House of Prayer for All People;
- agree in prayer (Matt 18:19);
- encourage, build up and comfort each other through relationship; and
- amplify what the Spirit is saying to His Church through His watchmen.
United prayer has many forms:
- One prayer focus through praying shared prayer points. Example: A Prayer for Australia –is being taken up by many individuals and networks and some are saying it is life changing. You may find the Spirit quickens fresh insights as you gradually dwell in on different aspects within it. A Prayer for Australia is here.
- One prayer focus through praying for a particular people group or issue. Example: The Australian Indigenous Prayer Network (Contact: Kris Schlyder firstname.lastname@example.org) and regular gatherings of the Victorian Indigenous Prayer Network.
- There are shared seasons of time when we unite in prayer across multiple locations e.g. dedicated days of prayer and fasting and periods of continuous prayer chain – or 24/7 prayer in a common location. Examples of united prayer locations around Australia at: www.40daysofprayer.com.au & 24/7 www.melbourne247.net.au
- Sometimes we hear a common call to gather at a particular united event to pray for a shared focus or territory. Examples below: www.nationaldayofprayer.com.au and Melbourne Prayer Breakfast www.melbourneprayerbreakfast.com
- Visiting each other’s gatherings builds relationship and our awareness of the Body as a whole. You may be deeply humbled, blessed and refreshed by resting, soaking, worshipping under someone else’s leadership and challenged by other perspectives; styles of prayer and the deep fellowship and unity brought by the Spirit of God. Consider inviting your leadership team/intercessors/prayer group –even closing your group one day to meet with others.
- There is great strength in local churches/groups gathering regionally to pray together for their region –e.g. monthly.
Prayer and mission need to work together so we pray as we go.
- There are exciting stories emerging from a local church prayer group that is door knocking its block and seeing people healed and coming to church.
- Ultimately we hope united prayer in a region leads to collaborative mission – for example as local churches are impacted by God’s heart for the people and issues in their local territory. Having real relationship and shared vision and being able to work functionally together as the Body of Christ in one region deeply equips our capacity to be God’s agents of societal transformation – and it draws governmental & local business support! Example: local churches together impacting a local school – through working bees; reading programs, R.E. and chaplaincy.