To help prepare us for a series of meetings with Joe Humrichous in October, I am sharing articles written by Joe and originally posted at paradigm1.org
Revelation 3:20—Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
We are invited to pray together in our shared relationship in Jesus. Our relationship with Jesus is certainly personal, but it is not private; it is shared.
In this reality, we are participating with the body of Christ and rescuing prayer from autonomy and individualism. This is a precious and powerful opportunity for a church, and can you believe it? Jesus is actually knocking on our door in order to engage us!
My beloved mentor, Oliver Price, says it so well:
Prayer is much greater than bringing a list of requests to God. Prayer is letting Jesus Himself come into our midst to commune with us and glorify His name through meeting our needs. Our Lord’s heart cry is evident in Revelation 3:20.
O. Hallesby, in his classic book entitled Prayer, commented as follows:
I doubt that I know of a passage in the whole Bible that throws greater light upon prayer than this one does. It is, it seems to me, the key which opens the door into the holy and blessed realm of prayer.
To pray is nothing more involved than to let Jesus in on our needs. To pray is to give Jesus permission to employ His powers in the alleviation of our distress. To pray is to let Jesus glorify His name in the midst of our needs.
Private prayer is necessary, but we also need to pray with others, striving to unite under the headship of Christ, under His shepherd care, and under His active leadership. A lady known for her fervent prayers said, “That’s where the power is.” Another lady commented, “We need to listen to one another’s hearts in the presence of God.”
We certainly need the power of God’s Spirit breathing in and through us as we pray. Praying corporately can be structured to focus on the presence of Christ and unite our prayers under His life-transforming headship. The church began not as a preaching service with a small prayer meeting (Acts 1:14); rather, the church was a prayer meeting.
I think we need to preserve the idea that the church was a prayer meeting designed to steward the connection between the church and Christ. This stewardship cannot effectively be done just through closet prayers. There must be a corporate dimension—and may I quickly emphasize the importance of making them life-giving! We must stop the bad habits that kill group prayer.
We need to remember the church will be disconnected from prayer if prayer is disconnected from Jesus. Colossians 1:15-27 does a great job keeping the majesty of Jesus and the mystery of Jesus together. “Christ in you (plural), the hope of glory” is why we should be fully convinced that every gospel preaching church can be healthy, walk in revival, and be full of glory!
Further observations from Colossians 1:15-27:
- All that we’re longing for in the gospel community (transformed lives, glory in the church, every man perfect in Christ) flows from one living fountain, “Christ in you the hope of glory” (1:27).
- The majesty of Jesus (vv. 15-19) and the mystery of Jesus (vv. 26-27) must be kept intact.
- We are ministers and stewards of this miraculous and powerful union (vv. 24-25).
- Jesus also must have preeminence as the active Head of the church (v. 18).
- All fullness (pleroma) and completeness dwell in Jesus (Colossians 1:19, 2:9-10).
- His active Headship ensures a church increase that comes from God (Colossians 2:18-19).
These truths are wow factors and should fascinate our imaginations. They are much more powerful than goals centered around human accomplishment.