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Praise & Worship

Prayer Group
Image by Fa Barboza

The
Bible

Praise and prayer brings the focal point of our attention to God. It brings us to that communion relationship with Him that God created us for. Without praise and prayer, our relationship with Him falls by the wayside.

 

The Bible teaches us to “let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6), “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), “devote yourselves to prayer” (Colossians 4:2), “ask, and you will receive” (John 16:24), and “do not lose heart in praying” (Luke 18:1)

 

The Bible also tells us to watch and pray. How is “watching and praying” different from just “praying”? I believe ‘keeping watch’ adds an element of alertness and awareness of what is happening in the Spirit realm. “God is Spirit and His worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

 

In the Book of Habakkuk, the prophet lamented before God when seeing all the injustices and conflicts around him. His prayer cry would not be much different from how we would pray today.

Habakkuk 1:2-4

How long, Lord, must I call for help,

    but you do not listen?

Or cry out to you, “Violence!”

    but you do not save?

 Why do you make me look at injustice?

    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?

Destruction and violence are before me;

    there is strife, and conflict abounds.

 Therefore the law is paralyzed,

    and justice never prevails.

The wicked hem in the righteous,

    so that justice is perverted.

But Habakkuk not only lamented and prayed to God; he said he will ‘stand at his watch’ to hear what the Lord will reveal and make known to him.

Habakkuk 2:1

I will stand at my watch

    and station myself on the ramparts;

I will look to see what he will say to me,

    and what answer I am to give to this complaint

So, to watch and pray is to hear what the Lord will speak or reveal to us.

 

Scriptures in Ephesians 6:10-17 writes about putting on the armour of God. Then it follows with the following verses Ephesians 6:18-20:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

 

If we are asked to put on the armour of Christ, then there must be some kind of warfare going on in the spiritual realm even though we don’t see it. The following scriptures affirm this too.

1 Peter 5:8, Peter wrote

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

When we watch and pray, our spirit is on high alert, which will empower us to resist any temptations, trials and wily schemes of the enemy. Praise and Prayer rekindles our spirit and empowers us to overcome the weaknesses of our flesh.

 

Matthew 26:41

Jesus told His disciples, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Sometimes there are ‘spiritual strongholds’ that hinder the work of doing God’s ministry. To watch and pray helps to tear down any strongholds or barriers that might have ‘walled’ us in. Jesus said “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.   I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed [ in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19). We see the example of Israel’s worshippers and Levites

praising and praying ahead of the army to bring down the walls of Jericho. As

proclaiming the message of the Kingdom of God is of utmost importance, our dependence on God is absolute. Paul the apostle wrote: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4)

Paul also exhorts the believers to “pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. (Colossians 4:2-3)

The Bible teaches us to pray for the sick. James 5:14-15 writes: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.    And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.”

 

God can do the miraculous when we pray in faith. But sometimes we may feel

discouraged when we don’t see the results that we pray for. We should not give up praying nor lose our trust in God even if the results turned out differently. We don’t fully understand why God heals in some situations and not others. However, many will testify that they feel the assurance of peace and strength after being prayed regardless of the outcome.

Paul, the apostle, had a sickness that he prayed to God to heal him. He was not healed, even though he prayed and healed many others who were sick. But he was not discouraged. In fact, it strengthened his faith because he was not relying on the strength of his physical being but in God’s power and strength that lives in him.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 ‘I (Paul) was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  8  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  10  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’

Finally, we watch and pray so that we will always be ready on the day that our Lord Jesus returns. We are often lulled into a complacency to think that it will be a long time more before the Second coming of our Lord Jesus.

2 Peter 3:9-10

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Matthew 24:42-44

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

All these scriptures point to the importance of staying spiritually alert and watchful whenever we pray. Praise and Prayer always precede the move of God to act on behalf of His people. Looking at the events in the world and knowing that some of our dear members in the congregation are in need of healing from sickness and health issues, there is not a more compelling time than NOW to join with one another at our monthly Praise and Prayer assembly.

~ James Soo

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