Practical Directions for Corporate Prayer
- Keep your prayers at a reasonable length so others have time to pray.
- Don’t pray about everything, lest you discourage others from praying. Before the meeting ends, if a particular matter was never brought up, then pray again and include it.
- Keep the glory and kingdom of God in focus as you pray. Plead for His will to be done, for His kingdom to come, for His Son to be exalted, for His church to be strengthened, and for His Spirit to rule in our hearts, lives, families, and congregation.
- Remember, prayer’s not about changing God’s will to match your desires; it’s about changing your desires to match His will. And as God pleases, prayer either lifts the cross off you or gives you grace to bear it honorably. So pray submissively, being bold to pray the promises and yet humbly content for God to fulfill them as and when He pleases.
- Remember to add thanksgiving and praise to your supplications. Prayer is more than petition.
- Leave your prayers with confidence and humility at the throne of grace. God will do with them what He wills, which is always best.
The Call to Prayer
Ps 50.15, Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
Acts 2.42, And the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Mt 6.5-9, And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven…”
Eph 6.10-12, 18, Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. And keep alert with all perseverance, making intercession for the saints.
Col 4.2, Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
1Tim 2.1-2, First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people…that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
Js 5.13, Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
1Th 5.17, Pray without ceasing.
Phil 4.5-7, The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Heb 4.16, Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Grounds for Prayer
Jer 14.7, Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O LORD, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you.
Jer 14.20-21, We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against you. Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us.
2Chr 14.11, And Asa cried to the LORD his God, “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”
Dan 9.18, O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.
God’s covenant and promises
Ps 89.28-33, My steadfast love I will keep for [Christ] forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens. If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.
Encouragements in Prayer
Isa 65.24, Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.
Jer 33.3, Call to me and I will answer you.
Joel 2.32, Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.
Ps 81.10, I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
Ps 102.13, You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come.
Ps 126.6, He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Pr 10.24, What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
Isa 45.19, I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.
Mt 7.8, Everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Mt 18.19-20, If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
Jn 14.13, Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
1Jn 5.14, This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
Js 5.16, Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Zech 13.9, They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’
Ps 34.4, I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Characteristics of Acceptable Prayer
Sincerity: You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart (Jer 29.13). And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others (Mt 6.5).
Faith: Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Heb 11.6). If any of you lacks…let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (Js 1.5-6). Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith (Heb 10.22).
Humility: If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2Chr 7.14). And going a little farther Jesus fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will (Mt 26.39). And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son’ (Lk 15.21).
Forgiveness: If you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mt 6.14).
Fervor: Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for…my people (Jer 9.1)! O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you (Ps 88.1). Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes (Dan 9.3). And being in an agony Jesus prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Lk 22.44). In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence (Heb 5.7).
A Prayer for Deliverance from Distress
Daniel 9.3-19, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
The Puritans on Prayer
- Prayer is the soul’s breathing itself into the bosom of its heavenly Father. –Watson
- You can do more than pray after you’ve prayed, but you can’t do more than pray until you’ve prayed. –Bunyan
- Prayer is nothing but the promise reversed, or God’s Word turned into an argument, and retorted by faith upon God again. –Gurnall
- Prayer is putting the promises to suit upon God. –Trapp
- Tears have a tongue, and grammar, and language, that our Father understands. –Rutherford
- I had rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous. –Lye
- Good prayers never come weeping home. I’m sure I shall receive, either what I ask or what I should’ve asked. –Hall
- The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel. –Watson
- Pray often. For prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan. –Bunyan
- That which does not begin with prayer, seldom winds up with comfort. –Flavel
- When people do not mind what God speaks to them in His Word, God does as little mind what they say to Him in prayer. –Gurnall
- Christ went more readily to the cross than we do to the throne of grace. –Watson
- There is no prayer acknowledged, approved, accepted, recorded, or rewarded by God, but that in which the heart is sincerely and wholly engaged. –Brooks
- Be particular with God. A great reason we reap so little benefit in prayer is because we rest too much in generals. –Lee
- Prayer that is faithless is fruitless. –Watson
- Cold prayers always freeze before they reach heaven. –Brooks
- We must pray with our hand on the plow or the field will be barren despite our prayers. Pray and work or pray and starve. Do you think to set God to work while you sit with your hand in your pocket? –Gurnall
- Pray often rather than very long at a time. It is hard to be very long in prayer and not slacken in our affections. –Gurnall
- I have been benefited by praying for others; for by making an errand to God for them, I have gotten something for myself. –Rutherford
- He that cannot pray, let him go out to sea, and there he will learn. –Adams
- A praying man can never be very miserable. Whatever his condition be, he has the ear of God. Thus, it is a mercy to pray, even if I never receive the mercy prayed for. –Bridge
- A saint is to put forth his faith in prayer and then afterwards follow his prayer with faith. –Powell
- Set no time to the Lord to fulfill your prayers; for His time is always best. –Rutherford