The Importance of Public Prayer
By Joe Keim
November 1, 2007
We had discussed the issue of laying our prayer books aside and coming together as small groups for some real, from the heart, crying out to God, prayer time. Wow! Some of you who responded were all for getting together to pray and excited to hear that others felt the same way; others felt quite the opposite and used Matthew 6:6 to back up why they were against group prayer. And you are right, Jesus Himself said in Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. And obviously this is true, because Jesus said so-BUT-you have to understand why He said so. The only way to know that, is by reading the previous verses (particularly verse 5).
The flip side of praying in secret is that we are encouraged and shown over and over that God's family did come together to pray. For instance...In Acts 12 we can read where the persecution of Christians had become very great-Herod had James killed with the sword and Peter thrown into prison. And look what the church did...
- Acts 12:5 ...but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him [Peter].
- Acts 12:12 ...he [Peter] came to the house of Mary ... where many were gathered together praying.
- Acts 1:13-14 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room...These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women...
- 2 Chronicles 6:13-14 For Solomon ... kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven ... And said, O LORD God of Israel...
These are only a couple examples of God's family, coming together to pray-there are many, many others. Maybe we need a good dose of persecution before we can get serious enough about our need as a church to cry out to God.
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