Thanks- (and praise-) filled prayer –

“Expressing ourselves in appreciative faith.”

A second activity the Holy Spirit kept urging early Christians to practice when they gathered was praying together, often for extended periods of time (Acts 2:42; 4:24-31). No doubt this included times of waiting and quiet "listening" to hear what God might say to them, directly. But at its core, Biblical prayer has always been about unloading our hearts to God in expressions of confession, repentance and fervent requests for Him to accomplish what we can't. Numerous examples and instructions in Scripture also urge us not to neglect offerings of gratitude and praise when we pray (see Col. 3:16; 4:2). They act as spiritual stimuli to keep us alert and God-centered, and He richly deserves them.

Churches can excel at some of these practices by leading people to sing meaningful hymns and spiritual songs. But they often detour around other important practices by being satisfied with one person offering a brief prayer or two on behalf of all the others present. This has turned praying together into more of a formality than a deeply engaging and empowering interaction with our God.

Counteracting this trend will require us to set aside more time for people to voice their concerns, needs, requests, joys and fresh insights into God, followed by "seasons" of prayer which encourage everyone to contribute.

For more ideas on how to make prayer a more vibrant and central part of your gatherings, read the chapter on this topic in the book,
Gold, Silver and Precious Stones.
Order it on the Products and Resources page.