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A Church At Prayer (4 of 4)
Church: A User's Guide
Acts 2:42; Matthew 18:19-20
Introduction: All this month I have presented what I call ''A Users Guide for Church.'' We have looked at Acts 2:42 and the pattern of the First Christians two thousand years ago as our outline for what happens when we gather as the church. The Bible verse says those early believers were committed to four priorities. ''They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching [the message and mission of Jesus] and to the fellowship [the sense of belonging that made them a caring place and not just a crowd], to the breaking of bread [the regular and frequent practice of the Lord's Supper that Jesus initiated at the Last Supper], and to prayer (Acts 2:42).
Today we consider that fourth item. When you come to this place at this time, you find a church at prayer. We do pray. I hope you have noticed that. In fact, we probably pray more than many of us realize. Our worship leader guides us in prayer after the first song. An elder offers prayer just before we pass the communion. Another elder prays at the offering. I led a pastoral prayer a few moments ago and usually close the sermon with prayer. The service normally ends with a benediction prayer. That's at least six different prayers in the space of about an hour.
But that's not all. Many of the hymns and songs we sing are simply prayer set to music and voiced together. For example this morning, two of the songs were about prayer (What A Friend and Sweet Hour of Prayer). But two of them were actual prayers. The words were directed to God. ''You are my all in all,'' we said. And then we sang together a few moments later, ''Earnestly I seek your face.'' That's prayer whether sung or simply said, whether done by an individual or performed together. When you come here, you find a church at prayer--together!
This provides a good place to address a topic I have intentionally avoided all month as we have talked about our church ...
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