Throughout the Scriptures we find a strong connection between prayer, the kingdom of God, and the mission of God.

This is not just in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament. For instance, one time God spoke to the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah, telling them that because their sin had become so great, he would no longer hear their prayers and continue his mission through them.

In Isaiah 1:15 we read: When you spread out your hands,
 I will hide my eyes from you;
 even though you make many prayers,
 I will not listen;
 your hands are full of blood.

Prior to this, God’s people were “A kingdom of priests,” who would pray and worship God in his house. And God would answer their prayers causing his kingdom purposes to come throughout the earth. But, now, because of their horrible sin, God’s people were no longer a kingdom of priests in his house. So God was no longer answering their prayers to advance his kingdom purposes through them. But the good news is that God did not give up his purpose to have a kingdom of priests in his house of prayer.

He later promised that, in the future, he was going to bring foreigners, non-Jews, to his holy mountain and into his house. And they would become a new kingdom of priests! In Isaiah 56:6-7: “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
 to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
 and to be his servants,…
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
 and make them joyful in my house of prayer;…for my house shall be called a house of prayer
 for all peoples.”

The prophet Isaiah casts an amazing vision here of God’s future, joyful, house of prayer that will be filled with a new kingdom of priests from all peoples and nations.

The next time this passage is mentioned is in the New Testament: “Jesus entered the temple, and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers (Mat 21:12-13).”

In Ephesians 2, Paul uses this same imagery of God’s house to describe the church of Jesus Christ, now made up of Jew and Gentile: “For through him (Christ) we both (Jew and Gentile) have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

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In the Old Testament, the people of God lost their identity as a kingdom of priests. But the good news of the gospel of the kingdom is that Jesus is now our ultimate High Priest, and through our union with him by faith, we have now become God’s promised new Kingdom of Priests.

The Apostle Peter writes, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5).” We learn here that, the Church, as God’s new Kingdom of Priests, is to be marked by being a people who find our joy in him through gathering as the new temple of God and house of God–marked by prayer.

This is why prayer must not be seen as merely one of many important priorities in ministry. It must become a very top priority.

When the first-century church was being established, the apostles found themselves distracted by the many pressing demands of the ministry—including waiting on tables. They responded, “Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:3-4).

When Paul warned the Ephesian Christians of the spiritual battle in which they were to engage, he told them to put on the whole armor of God and to stand against the devil’s schemes. Standing against the devil’s schemes involved understanding God’s truth about salvation, using the Word of God as a sword, and continuous prayer.

Paul urged the Ephesian believers to “…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

In regard to the advance of the gospel, Paul specifically asked believers, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel… Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20).

Never forget that the success of the gospel in church planting and renewal depends not only on God’s sovereignty and the faithful preaching of the gospel—but also on the faithful prayers of God’s people.

Prayer is the mysterious means that God has chosen through which he releases the transforming power of the gospel in your life and ministry to make his Kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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Video 2: Prayer and the Kingdom of God

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Throughout the Scriptures we find a strong connection between prayer, the kingdom of God, and the mission of God.

Never forget that the success of the gospel in church planting and renewal depends not only on God’s sovereignty and the faithful preaching of the gospel—but also on the faithful prayers of God’s people.

In this 6-part series you’ll be equipped to:

      • Understand the importance of prayer–especially in crises
      • See the connection between prayer and the kingdom of God
      • Explain the place of prayer in the ministry of Jesus
      • Pray front-line, God-centered Kingdom prayers
      • Apply the Lord’s Prayer to your private and public prayers
      • Pray confidently, persistently, and in faith

This brief video (6:31) will help you see the transformative power of prayer.

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Registration closes August 15

We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.

 

A common mistake in ministry is relying illegitimately on our own abilities–trusting in methods and strategies, rather than trusting in the Lord through prayer.

When we face trials and difficulties in life and ministry, we must learn that those are times God is calling us to prayer. In his excellent book, A Praying Life, Paul Miller wrote, “Instead of fighting anxiety, we can use it as a springboard to bending our hearts to God. Instead of trying to suppress anxiety, manage it, or smother it with pleasure, we can turn our anxiety toward God.

In the Old Testament, we read about Hezekiah, a Jewish King, who was facing what seems like insurmountable problems. What appears to be an unstoppable Assyrian army, under King Sennacherib, was coming to defeat him and his people. During this time, he receives a letter that tells him he should admit defeat and give up. This letter also reminds him of how this army has already conquered all of the neighboring countries and no one has been able to stand against them.

Instead of fighting anxiety, we can use it as a springboard to bending our hearts to God. Instead of trying to suppress anxiety, manage it, or smother it with pleasure, we can turn our anxiety toward God. – Paul Miller, A Praying Life

In Isaiah 37 we learn how Hezekiah responds. We’re told he takes the letter and lays it out before the Lord. The image of what Hezekiah is doing here is similar to what the Apostle Peter describes when he tells us to “Cast all our anxieties on the Lord.” The king takes this letter, representing all his anxieties, and lays it out before the Lord, meaning he lifts it up to the Lord in prayer.

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That’s when the Old Testament prophet Isaiah is sent to him by the Lord with a message from God of great hope and promise, telling him he does not need to fear the approaching army. Isaiah promises Hezekiah that God is going to deliver him. And then Isaiah tells him why. He says “ Because you prayed.” These are key words we need to never forget: “Because you prayed.”

The Greek historian Herodotus attributed the destruction of the Assyrian army to a sudden outbreak of bubonic plague. Isaiah, in another place, simply says the angel of the Lord went and struck down 185,000 of the Assyrian soldiers in their camp.

These are key words we need to never forget: “Because you prayed!”…James writes, “You have not because you ask not.” There are things that God will do because people pray that he would not do had they not prayed.

Sometimes people say, “Prayer doesn’t change things. Prayer only changes you.” We need to be careful with such statements. Isaiah is clearing teaching us here that there are things that God did because this king prayed. This is very similar to what James tells us in the New Testament when he writes, “You have not because you ask not.” There are things that God will do because people pray that he would not do had they not prayed.

There are many times in your life and ministry when you will be fearful about what lies ahead. You will not see a way forward.

It may not be an army of problems as frightening as the Assyrian army under Sennacherib but, for you, it can feel like that. During these times, never forget that God is calling you to lay those fears out before the Lord in prayer and cast all your anxieties on him. John Newton wrote a poem that put it this way:

Thou art coming to a King,
 Large petitions with thee bring; 
For His grace and power are such,
 none can ever ask too much. – John Newton

This doesn’t mean that you will always have a highly visible, miraculous destruction of your approaching army. But God still promises you deliverance. In 1 Peter 5, we read the Apostle Peter’s challenge:

”Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

So, every time you are faced with an approaching army in your life and ministry, never forget this one simple phrase from the Prophet Isaiah, “Because you prayed.”

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Registration closes August 15

We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.