Vision2021 … and beyond
Be known for this … we as a church pray!
I often wonder what it must have been like for the disciples to live life with Jesus, God incarnate! To hear Him speak with such wisdom, to feel His perfect peace while in His presence as He cast every burden on His heavenly Father, to witness first-hand the power of His ministry, to watch as He taught with such soul penetrating understanding, and to see His selfless, untiring love expressed so tenderly toward those in need. What those disciples observed, as taught in Scripture, was that Jesus lived, and breathed, served and sacrificed, in total dependence on His Father, through the Spirit, who was given to Him “without measure” (Luke 4:18-19; John 3:34).
Is it any wonder that the one thing His disciples asked Him to teach them was not to preach, not to perform miracles, not to cast out demons, … but to pray (Luke 11:1)! They had seen Jesus’ life immersed in prayer (Luke 3:21; 6:12-13; 9:18-20, 29; 22:39-46) and had recognised, as Jonathan Edwards said, that “prayer is as natural expression of faith as breathing is of life.”
Jesus taught them and they listened, for we find the earliest Christian communities were communities bathed in prayer. The early church was birthed in prayer (Acts 1:14) and they continually devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42). After Peter and John were released from prison for preaching the gospel the church prayed (4:31). Again, after Peter was taken into prison “earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church” (Acts 12:5). After he was miraculously set free by an angel, he found the church “gathered together and were praying” (Acts 12:12). Soon after, Barnabas and Paul were set aside for ministry through corporate prayer (Acts 13:3). And we could go on (Acts 6:4, 6, 7:59-60; 16:25 etc). Prayer was integral to personal and corporate worship, giving life and power to the church. Prayer sustained the church, united the church, and caused the church to grow.
The fourth “pillar” of our vision is Intentional Prayer. We want to be, no, need to be, a church that reflects the early church who wholly devoted themselves to the Lord in prayer. We need the Holy Spirit to guide our decisions, put supernatural power into our preaching and teaching on every level, inspire all of us to live with a holy passion and affection for Jesus, and protect our hearts from lethargy, despondency, and sin. There is perhaps no greater need than for God’s people to pray and watch with expectancy for His fire to descend on the sacrifice of our prayers. If Hills Bible Church is to be known, among other things, may we be known as a church who prays, in our personal life, family life, and community life.
Amen! May it be so.