The Power of Prayer
through the Word of God (21)
The Prayer of Praise and Worship
Now they were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
As they MINISTERED TO THE LORD, and FASTED, the holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabus and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
I want you to notice the expression in verse 2 that we emphasised as we read, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted…
We are talking about different kinds of prayer. Oftentimes the only kind of prayer we are familiar with is the prayer of petition, or the prayer to change things. We also call that the prayer of faith. We are almost always petitioning God to do something for us and, of course it is scriptural to pray the prayer of petition and to receive our needs met. But in our text in Acts 13:1-4, the people were not petitioning God to do anything. It says they ministered
to the Lord and fasted
. Ministering to the Lord is…
The prayer of praise and worship
When we come together as a local church, we usually minister to one another, as most of our services are designed that way. We sing, but many times very few of the songs we sing actually minister to the Lord; they usually minister to us. We have “special” singing, but many times we’re still not ministering to the Lord, we’re ministering to one another.
When we pray in church, our praying is primarily petitioning God. We are petitioning the Lord to move in our midst and to manifest Himself among us. Then when the song service is over and the ministering to one another.
When we pray in church, our praying is primarily petitioning God. We are petitioning the Lord to move in our midst and to manifest Himself among us. Then when the song service is over and the minister speaks, he is not ministering to the Lord, He is ministering to the congregation.
the Lord ministers to us as a congregation though the speaker, manifesting Himself in our midst. Then when the service is being concluded, if we do have a time of waiting on God in prayer, it is still usually petitioning prayer. We come to church, not necessarily to minister to the Lord, but to pray and to seek God on our own behalf, praying that certain needs will be met, and then we minister to certain needs of each other.
Often in the church certain people come forward for prayer. They want something
from God, but they are not always sure exactly what
it is that they need. We should ask folks who come to the altar just what they came for.
Many times, I’ve seen folks respond to an altar call and others gather around to pray with them and just start praying. As we say from a natural standpoint, they just start bombarding heaven on their behalf. I have come along and asked some of these people what they came to the altar for, and they have said, “Well, I don’t know.”
How would others know what to pray for if the people themselves didn’t know what they had come forward for? I can’t understand that, can you? Those praying with people who respond to an altar call should find out whether the people came for salvation, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, or to receive some other particular blessing or benefit. Then they will know how to direct them in line with the Word of God, and they can pray with them in faith.
Coming to church to seek God on our own behalf and to minister to needs of others isn’t wrong. But most of that kind of praying is the prayer of petition – not the prayer of worship or ministering to the Lord. my personal observation is that by far the majority of our praying is more the petitioning kind of prayer than any other. it seems we have gotten away from (if we were ever really there to begin with) the prayer of worship.
Ministering to the Lord
But in Acts 13, we see the Early Church ministering to the Lord with the prayer of worship. And notice there is more than just a one-way conversation involved in this account in Acts 13, for it says, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost SAID…”
This is the prayer of worship. You see, God made man so He would have someone to have fellowship with. It is true that god is concerned about us and is interested in us and wants to meet our needs, for He tells us in his Word to ask for the things we need.
Verse 25 says that at midnight
Paul and Silas prayed and praised God. I believe that verse was actually, literally speaking of midnight – the midnight hour. But I believe there is something else here that is significant.
The midnight hour can also refer to the midnight hour in our lives. “Midnight” could also be symbolic of times of seeming darkness, or of tests and trials in our lives. But, thank God, we have a resource of power that’s available to us to withstand the onslaught of the enemy. We have God’s Word and we can
pray. Many times just to pray is not enough. Notice that after Paul and Silas prayed
, they sang praises
to God (Acts 16:25).
Anyone can pray when he finds himself in trouble. But it takes a person of faith to sing praises, too, in the midnight hour of life. Paul and Silas’ backs were bleeding and their feet were in stocks. it was literally midnight, but it was also the midnight hour of tests and trials. It was a dark and seemingly hopeless situation.
When Paul and Silas sang praises to God, their backs were still in the same condition as before – bleeding and hurting. Their feet were still in stocks. They were still in the inner prison. It was still midnight. The situation was bad and it hadn’t changed. They had no manifestation of help or deliverance at all when they began singing praises to God.
I am convinced that if most Christians would quit continuing to pray over and over about the same things and would begin praising god, it wouldn’t be long until their answers would come. it wouldn’t be long before the praises of God would dispel their “midnight hour” – the tests and trials they are facing.
At midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises. Praises and worship get the job done. Notice Paul and Silas didn’t pray and then gripe and fuss and bellyache about their circumstances.
If you’re going to complain about your circumstances, you are not going to receive anything from God or get any results in prayer. You are just wasting your time! You might just as well mark that down right now! it is praying and believing God and His Word that gets the job done, not griping and complaining. Griping and complaining is a result of doubt and unbelief. God answers believing prayer.
3 FOR WE WHICH HAVE BELIEVED DO ENTER INTO REST, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
When you pray and really believe, you enter into rest. Then you can sing praises to God. It doesn’t say that when you pray and believe you enter into a state of fretting. It doesn’t say when you pray and believe, you enter into a state of worry, agitation, confusion, perplexity, and anxiety. It says when you are believing God, you enter into rest. The believing prayer is the prayer that God hears and answers.
Best Greetings to all of you, brothers in Christ, may God bless you much as you continue to walk, the walk of faith in Jesus' Name. Praise and Glory be to God.
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