The Journey Continues

Welcome to ‘the Prayer Academy’ blog! We hope you find it helpful.

“…(the prayer meeting) will be the engine that will drive the church…” (Jim Cymbala – ‘Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire’)

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Collective Prayer at Cartsbridge

Background

The church organised a weekly prayer meeting for many years on a Wednesday night. Apart from the last Wednesday of the month (which was reserved for Home Groups), the prayer meeting was held in the church and led by an individual on a rota basis. 

In the recent past an additional home group evening has been added so we now have church prayer meetings 2-3 times per month.

Current Position

In discussions this year there has been an acknowledgement that the current format is tired. At our AGM in June the elders informed the church that we would use the month of September to focus afresh on prayer and use a teaching DVD called “When God’s People Pray” on Wednesday nights and teach about prayer at our All-Age Service on Sunday mornings. There was an average of 50 people in attendance each Wednesday during September.

The Way Forward (‘The Prayer Academy’)

It was Andrew Murray who spoke about disciples of Jesus enrolling in the school of prayer. That thought developed into the idea of running a “Prayer Academy” at Cartsbridge during the week thus replacing the prayer meeting. 

The overall aim of ‘the Prayer Academy’ is that we ‘learn to be a generation that seeks God.’

“Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:6).

The story of King Josiah from 2 Chronicles 34 has direct relevance here. It says in this chapter that at the age of 16 “…he began to seek the God of his father David” (v.3). This phrase appears around 30 times in the OT.

From these verses the broad idea of seeking God:

  • Requires that we turn from our sin and worship him with humility. 
  • Means that we are in constant fellowship with him, observe his commandments and practice love and justice.

John Piper says it is “the conscious fixing or focusing of our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection on God.”

While the larger part of seeking God will take place in the lives of individual believers the opportunity for regular corporate prayer will allow us to become a generation that is intent on seeking him.

The Way Froward (in Practice)

In session 3 of “When God’s People Pray” Jim Cymbala taught about the vital importance of the Word of God and prayer. His appeal was that we should allow the teaching of the Bible to inform our prayers. Therefore, ‘the Prayer Academy” will place much greater emphasis on God’s Word and encourage its teaching to inform our prayers.

In essence the evenings will contain: 

  • A focused time of praise – a deliberate coming to God in song that focuses our hearts on him.
  • A engaging period of Bible teaching – approx 15 minutes where we listen to what God’s word says and we use that as fuel for our prayers.
  • A deliberate turning to prayer  – this would be a mix of whole group and small group prayer.

When we read Paul’s letters to the churches in the New Testament it is fascinating how he records what he is praying for each local church or church leader. There is, therefore, much in these passages to get the teaching of ‘the Prayer Academy’ up and running.

Conclusion

“…(the prayer meeting) will be the engine that will drive the church…” (Jim Cymbala – ‘Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire’)

Prayer ought to have a foundational place in the life of local church. What we have set out above is a way to achieve this goal.