Thursday, May 26, 2016

Touching Base, Part 307

Discipleship - The Life of Being an Apprentice

Prayerfully Engaged

"Climbing Mountains Together" 

This is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching in this series is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Last week we talked about our third mark of a disciple - Being Prayerfully Engaged. In our vision we state that we want to be a church that is responding to the heart of God. What does that look like? Our marks define what that looks like. Thus far in the series we have talked about being relationally healthy and being biblically measured. Last week and this week we looked at being prayerfully engaged. We believe that prayer is both personal and corporate. Without one or the other we are not a healthy or biblically functioning church. 

What is your prayer life like?
Both wings?
One wing?
No wings?

 On this second week of drilling down on being prayerfully engaged we looked at the corporate aspect of prayer. We pray together to climb together!

Here are some questions to discuss as we get started.
§  What is your experience with corporate prayer?
§  Did you grow up in a church where corporate prayer was prioritized?

This Sunday I started out by talking about climbing mountains. We all have “mountains” to climb.
§  What are some of those “mountains” that you are currently climbing?
§  Does corporate prayer play a role in helping you climb? If so how?

Let’s check out five pictures of the early church and how they climbed together. As a group make your observations. Some good questions would be…..
§  What was the need that caused them to pray together?
§  What characterized their corporate prayer?
§  Who was gathered?
§  What were the results?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we pray and still someone loses their head. You will see this when you come to picture #5.
§  Does this corporate prayer focus describe your experience of doing life together in community? If not what is holding you back? What are the obstacles?

Picture #1
Acts 1:1-14

Picture #2
Acts 1:15-26

Picture #3
Acts 2:42-3:1

Picture #4
Acts 4:23-31

Picture #5
Acts 12:1-19

Now go to Acts 6:1-7
There are many things to note but for the sake of this study, note the prayer priority in v4.
§  What does context tell us about the kind of prayer that is being talked about?

Note: One writer has said that nothing in this passage refers to anything personal, only ministries. Note the ministry to widows, ministry of the word. Also note prayer. Is this referring to the personal prayer lives of the disciples? Perhaps it includes their personal prayer lives but based on the context, corporate prayer is likely the key focus.

Note that every occurrence of prayer in Acts preceding chapter 6 refers to corporate prayer. Acts 1:14, 24; 2:42; 3:1; 4:23–31. Every verse pictured the apostles leading others in prayer; not once is their personal prayer life recorded. In every instance we see the apostles involved in leading the people of God to pray together. These stories confirm that Acts 6:4 speaks of a corporate ministry of prayer.

Source- Franklin, John (2005-11-01). And the Place Was Shaken: How to Lead a Powerful Prayer Meeting (p. 9). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

To build this case for corporate prayer you can flip through the pages following Acts 6 and see that while there are several examples of personal prayer (which is the other wing on the plane and thus crucially important) the corporate prayer priority stands out LOUD AND CLEAR!

Can you take some time to pray for the corporate prayer priority of Bethel? Ways to pray:
§  Pray that people would not climb “mountains” alone.
§  Pray that corporate prayer would be a safe place for people to climb with others.
§  Pray for a growing vision on how God is leading Bethel to prioritize corporate prayer
§  Pray that God would wake up not only Bethel but the big C church to the priority of corporate prayer.
§  Pray that God would be most glorified in the corporate prayers of the body.

We pray together to climb together!

Mark Kotchapaw

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