Here at Liberty Church, we love to gather together regularly to worship and pray together.
Jesus knows that we will often feel discouraged from praying and our natural inclination is to not pray. But, if prayer wasn’t important or indeed urgent, Jesus probably would have no need to encourage us to ‘always pray and not lose heart’ (Luke 18.1).
And if it wasn’t important and urgent then the apostle Paul wouldn’t have repeated Jesus encouragement in his letters to the churches in Rome, Ephesus, Colossae and Thessalonica – ‘be constant in prayer’ (Romans 12.12), ‘praying at all times in the spirit’ (Ephesians 6.18), ‘continue steadfastly in prayer’ (Colossians 4.2), ‘pray without ceasing’ (I Thessalonians 5.17).
It obviously is both important and urgent that we ‘always pray and not lose heart’.
So, as part of our response to this, three times a year (January, April & September) we take a week out as a church to dedicate ourselves to prayer and fasting.
We’ll take two evenings to worship and pray together (19.45 on Wednesday & Friday at the Vondelkerk), but be encouraged to carve out some deliberate time to be with God yourself.
A few tips to help you pray
1. Make time & space
Jesus would create time and space to pray, getting away from the crowds (Matt 14.23) and rising early in the morning to pray (Mark 1.35).
Plan some time to be with God this week. Maybe go for a walk during your lunch break, wake earlier than normal or even take a longer commute to work.
2. Pray with others
Obviously, join us on Wednesday and Friday to pray but you may also find it helpful to find other opportunities to pray with friends, partners, children, flatmates etc. A particular encouragement to parents; if you want children that know how to pray, then pray with them! That’s the best way to disciple your kids in prayer.
3. Be specific
I often find it useful to jot down an ‘impossible list’. Things that can only happen if God moves. Remember, prayer isn’t powerful because of who is praying but because of who we’re praying to.
None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience… I know, whenever I have prayed earnestly, that I have been amply heard, and have obtained more than I prayed for. God indeed sometimes delayed, but at last He came. — Martin Luther
When Jesus teaches us to pray (Matthew 6.5-15) he starts with teaching us to first worship ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’ (Matthew 6.9).
Before you get started on praying through your list; worship, sing, dance, pray through scripture, thank God for who He is. You may find you never even get to your list, those are often the best times of prayer!
5. Don’t lose heart!
Be rigorous. Sometimes, often in-fact, prayer involves a fight, a wrestle with yourself. Martin Luther described prayer as ‘a tremendously hard thing’. But it’s worth fighting for.
The more we need to pray the less we want to – pray until you pray. Learn to pray in cold blood – Joel Virgo
Join us to worship and pray together – 19.45 on Wednesday & Friday at the Vondelkerk.
If you’d like more guidance on what to pray for this week check out the daily plan we used in April.