April 20 – Prayer Connection

April 20 – Prayer Connection

Ephesians 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.” (Ephesians 6:18)

While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said…So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2,3)

The Holy Spirit is indispensable in accomplishing all of God’s work, not the least his work in and through the church. The reason for this is evident. We cannot accomplish God’s work without the Holy Spirit because he alone has the knowledge of all the factors involved in any situation, he alone has the wisdom to make the right decision, and he alone has the power to carry through the decision.

We are extremely limited in our knowledge, even after long study and careful investigation of all facets of any situation. We know only indistinctly the spiritual dimension, particularly what is going on inside other people involved in the issue at hand. We know only partially the historic context that led to the current circumstances, and we certainly do not know any of the future. In fact, we know only a fraction of all the infinite number of factors which bear on any decision that must be made. God the Holy Spirit alone has this knowledge and so he alone is adequate for evaluating the situation.

If we were infinite in knowledge and had access to all the information impinging on any decision, we would still lack the wisdom necessary to make the right decision. We are not only finite; our judgment is warped by sin. God the Spirit is the only one with wisdom sufficient to make the choices.

Finally, even were we to make the right choice, our power is totally inadequate to accomplish God’s purposes. So God the Holy Spirit must empower us to do the work.

The good news is that all the resources necessary have been provided in the person of the Holy Spirit, and in him alone. Indeed he is Indispensable.

  • The Spirit is indispensable for salvation- convicting (John 16:8) and regenerating (John 3:3-8).
  • The Spirit is indispensable for sanctificationwe are changed … into the same image by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).
  • The Spirit is indispensable for renewalcan these dry bones live? I will put my Spirit in you and you will live (Ezekiel 37:14).
  • The Spirit is indispensable for guidancethe Spirit …will guide you into all truth (John16:13).
  • The Spirit is indispensable for provisionmy God shall supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19).
  • The Spirit is indispensable for spiritual power-The Spirit works…distributing to each one (I Corinthians 12:11).

If the Spirit’s power is not freely flowing, there must be a disconnect. If salvation, sanctification, renewal, guidance, provision, spiritual power doesn’t seem to be flowing full force in your congregation or ministry, it could be the lack of prayer. The infinite knowledge, wisdom, power of the Spirit does not flow through the people in the congregation without activity on our part. But not just any kind of prayer will do. The pray-er must be connected. All Christians, but particularly the leaders in the congregation, must have an attitude of faith and obedience. If there is an unwillingness to do the will of God or a doubting that it can be accomplished, the Spirit is not free to do what he desires.

Note, however, that is not enough to have the right attitude; this attitude must be expressed, and the channel of expression is prayer. The prayer of faith is the connection with the Spirit that lets the wisdom and power flow. Believing prayer by believing Christians, however, is not sufficient. This conscious dependence on the Spirit in believing prayer must also be in prayer together. This is the way God’s people may discern his plan.[23] It is the way they will be empowered. [24] There are special promises for the church at prayer: “where two or three are gathered in my name” and “when two agree on earth as touching anything” (Matthew 18:18-20). The Spirit works in response to the united prayer of faith by an obedient people.

John 13-17 is often called the Upper Room Discourse and is the last block of teaching Jesus gave his disciples before going to the cross. The purpose of the teaching time around the table was to prepare them to live the Christian life without Christ being physically with them. So, how do we live the Christian life without Jesus being physically with us? Jesus told them what he intended to give them – and us—the gift of his presence in the person of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who had been with them and would soon be IN them. But he is not a silent, impersonal force within, he is as personal as was Jesus to the disciples. So we can converse with him — prayer is the connection.

A few weeks later, Jesus left them. The disciples had experienced three years under the personal mentoring of the very Son of God. They had witnessed his death and resurrection up-front. They had received his commission four or five times, but still they weren’t ready. They had the wrong goals because they misunderstood Scripture. They were trapped by traditions and misled by their own ambitions. So, he told them to wait and pray. And they did – united prayer of faith by an obedient people. Then the Spirit fell (Acts 1) and Spirit-power surged.

When God’s people pray, the Spirit gifts the church, guides the church, empowers the church, and provides fully for all its needs.

[23] Acts 13:1-3; 16:6-10

[24] Acts 1:21; 4:23, 24, 29, 31

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