The Prayer Ministry of the Church

by Watchman Nee, 1973
The Prayer Ministry of the Church
  1. The Prayer Ministry of the Church (Matthew 18:15-20)
    • The Earth Governs Heaven — Nee states that God’s action in the earth is limited by the willingness of the Church to agree with His will in prayer. In terms of free will alone, this explanation is incomplete and may lead to some misunderstanding. God's action in the earth is always in line with His Word which reveals the laws which govern things in the earth (sowing and reaping, our confessions of faith, etc.). Nevertheless, it is true that He is willing to do more in the earth than we have given Him opportunity to do because we have not taken up His work in prayer.
    • Harmonious Will -- God desires fellowship with us in His work. When we desire for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven, there is a marvelous harmony of wills through which God expresses His power to His glory.
    • Three Imposing Principles
      1. Pronouncing the Will of God -- God places a burden on the hearts of His people when He wishes to accomplish something. It is then incumbent upon us to pray that His will be done. If we do not, the burden becomes heavier under the prompting of the Spirit.
      2. Harmony in the Holy Spirit -- We must be a people who have been dealt with by the Holy Spirit. When we are in harmony with the Spirit, we will be in harmony with each other, and can pray effective prayers.
      3. Are Gathered Together -- We gather because we are called to gather, not because we decide that it is a good thing to do.
  2. Pray Like This (Matthew 6:5-15)
    • Not As the Hypocrites -- Prayer should glorify God. It should not be used to glorify ourselves. Proper prayer will be rewarded.
    • Not As the Gentiles -- We ought to pray with a right attitude of trust, faith, expectation, and heart desire. If we merely plead with God for what we selfishly desire, He will ignore us.
    • "Pray Then Like This" -- Jesus gave us an example of a prayer which models the spirit in which we should pray.
    • Three Heart Desires Toward God
      • "Hallowed be thy name" -- Each person must be personally brought to the place where their utmost desire is to glorify God before men.
      • "Thy kingdom come" -- As citizens of the kingdom, we ought to desire that kingdom would expand to include as many as possible.
      • Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth" -- God waits for His children to pray before He demonstrates His power.
    • Three Requests for Ourselves
      • "Give us this day our daily bread" -- We ought to learn to rely on God alone for the daily supply of our needs.
      • "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors" -- Whenever there is an offense in conscience, faith is drained away. We will lack boldness if we feel that we have offended someone.
      • "Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" -- We must not think that we are strong in ourselves to face temptation. We must pray for deliverance so that we are not rendered ineffective by the evil one.
    • Three Praises -- The kingdom, power, and glory are all God's. Our Lord's authority is made manifest through the Holy Spirit of power.
    • The Importance of Forgiving -- Our relationships with other Christians are essential to the functioning of the Church. If we are not willing to forgive, then we will lose out on the Church life.
  3. In the Name of the Lord Jesus--The Trust of God (Philippians 2:9-11, John 14:13-14, 15:16, 16:23-24,26a, Mark 16:17, Luke 10:17-20, 24:47, Acts 3:6, 4:7,10,12, 10:43, 16:18, 19:5, I Corinthians 6:11) -- God has entrusted us with the name which is above all names, the name of Jesus. We must daily know the work of the cross in our lives so that we may stand in the authority of that name. When we do, we represent Christ here on earth; what we ask in His name He will do.
  4. Authoritative Prayer (Matthew 18:18-19, Mark 11:23-24, Ephesians 1:20-22, 2:6, 6:12-13,18-19a) -- Christ sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. We are now seated with Him in the heavenly places. Because Christ has been exalted above all things, the church in Christ is also above all things. Our position in Christ gives us the authority to remove whatever mountain blocks our spiritual course. We may bind that which is contrary to God's desire, and we may loose that which is in bondage.
  5. Watch and Pray (Ephesians 6:18) -- The easiest target of attack in the life of a child of God is prayer. We must be watchful in guarding the time set aside for prayer, protecting the prayer that is being prayed, preventing all worthless and vain prayers, and precluding Satan from interrupting our prayers. We must watch for the effects of our previous prayers and adjust our current prayers accordingly. Prayer is a ministry -- a more excellent service.
Also by Watchman Nee:
A Table in the Wilderness
God's Plan and the Overcomers
The Good Confession
The Spiritual Man
The Messenger of the Cross

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