Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
At Hope, we believe that prayer is an important part of our daily drawing closer to God. Prayer is the unique means that the Lord has provided for His people to have intimate conversation and fellowship with Him. Everything that we undertake to do in this life should be supported by prayer to God for the guidance and help of His Holy Spirit and in accordance with His revealed will as found in the holy Scriptures.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, while living with us upon the earth, considered it vital to be in daily communion with God His Father through prayer. He also taught His disciples on several occasions a model for their own prayer lives that we often call “The Lord’s Prayer.” One account of Jesus’ teaching concerning prayer is found in Luke 11:
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
— Luke 11:1-4
Prayer also plays a key role in our Lord’s Day worship services. We begin our services with a prayer of invocation — that is, a prayer asking for the Lord’s presence to enter in among His people as they gather to worship and glorify Him. A little further along in the service, we again go before the Lord and prayerfully confess, asking Him to remove our many sins, by placing them under the blood of Jesus our Saviour. We also bow before God’s gracious throne during the service to pray on behalf of various praises, needs, and requests related to our congregation, Christ’s Church worldwide, and for our local, state, and national situation.
Our ministers employ prayer just before they begin their sermons, in order to ask for God’s blessing upon the preaching of His Word. The sermon is usually concluded with prayer as well — asking the Lord to bless His Word and its proclamation to the hearts and minds of those who heard it read, explained, and applied to them. The effectiveness of any effort to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ is dependent upon the work of God through the Holy Spirit within the hearts of those He chooses to affect. This process demands that our ministers earnestly seek God in prayer — before, during, and after the Word is delivered.
Public worship at Hope is also dependent on the faithful prayers of members throughout the week leading up to the Sunday services. Just as the minister seeks the Lord’s Spirit during the week for his sermon preparation and for his delivery of the Bible’s content during the corporate worship service, so also should the members of our congregation lift up in prayer the upcoming week’s services, asking that Holy Spirit richly bless our time together as God’s covenant family gathered together to praise Him.
If you would like more information on Hope’s prayer ministries or would like to have a request for prayer sent to our pastors and elders, please click here.