Praying in Church
I pray in church.
A strange statement to admit. After all, that is normal. Praying in church is expected as part of our corporate worship experience.
We often take prayer for granted – it’s beauty and it’s power. On our own, we whisper a prayer in distress but often fail to humble ourselves and kneel to the One who loves us most. We hear needs and say “I will pray for you.” We stand in corporate prayer as we think of what we are having for lunch and then sit to be entertained or annoyed by the preaching. We allow ourselves to listen to others pray rather than think or say our own heartfelt and faithful prayer with them.
Psalm 141:2 says, “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”
God is pleased to hear our prayers! In Matthew 27 we learn that when Jesus was crucified, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom, signifying our access to the Father through the Son! If that doesn’t excite us, we have become SPOILED by our good fortune! I do not want to take my relationship, direct contact to my Lord, my most treasured ability for granted! I CAN PRAY, expecting my Father to hear! Amazing!
Back to Sunday morning church………First, I need to prepare my own heart and pray that I am open to hearing the Word of God and His guidance. When I get there, a glance around reminds me to pray. People all around, any day, any time have a need, a hurt, a concern. I do not have to know. God knows. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 urges me to “pray continually.” So I pray very discreetly during the service – and it only takes a moment of my time.
Seven things for which I have found myself praying during a service:
- Those involved in carrying out the service – audio/visual techs, the worship team, the one speaking. I pray God would be glorified in all that happens, and He would use His people, anointing them beyond their human abilities for His will.
- To invite the Holy Spirit. I know He is always present, but I believe there is power in the invitation, just as there is power in inviting Jesus into our hearts or inviting people to pray at an altar.
- Our minds to be opened and hearts to be softened so we can fully welcome Jesus, recognize the Holy Spirit, and praise the Father.
- To go along with #3, I pray our ears would be opened to all the tidbits God is giving through His Word; that God would help us focus. Distracted people do not hear well.
- Specific people and the homes represented, even those I may not know.
- Attitudes. I pray we have an attitude of worship and a willingness to commune with God.
- The whole body of believers. In his letters, Paul reveals he prays for the churches.
There have also been a handful of times while praying during a service I felt the need to stop. Instead, I began whispering a command for the devil to flee our place of worship in the name of Jesus Christ. This is war, my friends, and we are cautioned to be on guard.
I cannot say I pray as I should every time I go to a church service, but I often feel the Holy Spirit’s push to pray. In chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, we read a beautiful prayer on behalf of the people as Daniel fasts in sackcloth and ashes.
Acts 1:14 says, “They all joined together constantly in prayer.”
Surely I can put my own self aside for a moment and lovingly intercede on behalf of my church family and our time together.
There is power in the name of Jesus! There is healing, miraculous wonders, and a beautiful relationship when we call upon that wonderful name! So lift others up to the One who loves us most! Even during church.