The Power of Church-Wide Prayer

Paul wrote the Colossian epistle at the end of his life, and it’s noteworthy that one of his final exhortations was about prayer. He said, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2). The Greek word for devote literally means to attend constantly. Paul is writing to the Colossian house church as a group. Although we should apply this truth to each believer, the context of Paul’s writing is the gathered church. There is power when the church gathers to pray.

God loves to answer prayer when his people cry out to him. In the early church, Peter was behind bars, bound by chains and Roman guards. Such restraints are no problem for the God of the universe in response to the prayers of his people. God heard the prayers of the church who was gathered in Mary’s house and released Peter from prison. Scripture says, “When this had dawned on him [Peter], he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying”(Acts 12:12).

Jesus likes to show up and do miracles when the church prays. Jesus  said in Matthew 18: 18-20,

Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

Commitment to prayer is the arsenal that God has given to his entire body of believers. And it’s the most important weapon God has given the church to win souls and make disciples.

Churches—charismatic or not—that prioritize prayer realize that only God can win souls and make disciples. Listen and apply the words of C.H. Spurgeon, the famous English Baptist preacher:

How can we expect a blessing if we are too idle to ask for it? How can we look for a Pentecost if we never meet with one another, in one place, to wait upon the Lord? Brethren, we shall never see much change for the better in our churches till the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians. (A Collection of Sermons, 1996)

For the last 20 years I’ve mentioned over and over that one principle common in all growing cell churches is the commitment to church-wide prayer. How about your church? Is this prayer principle active and alive? What can you do to increase the prayers in both cell and celebration?  

This article originally appeared here.

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Joel Comiskey (Ph.D. Fuller Seminary) is an internationally recognized cell church coach and consultant. He has served as a missionary with the C&MA in Quito, Ecuador and is now founding pastor of a cell-based church in Southern California. Joel has written best selling books on the worldwide cell group movement. He teaches as an adjunct professor at several theological seminaries. Joel Comiskey Group is a tax exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to helping complete the Great Commission in this century by providing resources and coaching to plant new cell churches and transition existing churches to cell-based ministry. For further reading on this topic, see Comiskey's books Making Cell Groups Work Navigation Guide and Home Cell Group Explosion.