From start to finish, prayer is a significant part of the Sunday worship service at Redeemer. We have the opening prayer of invocation, a corporate prayer of confession, prayers of intercession, a prayer before and after communion, and a weekly recital of the Lord’s Prayer. There are many reasons why we give prayer such a prominent place in the worship service.
Prayer is commanded by God. Christians are called to be people of prayer, and we read in the book of Acts that when the early church gathered together, they “devoted themselves to…the prayers” (Acts 2:42). As such, it is disappointing to read one contemporary Christian author lament that “One of the most disappointing features of contemporary worship is the absence of prayer.” Prayer is not always easy, but God has called us to this ministry and it must have a place in our worship.
Prayer is a great privilege. When we pray, we have access to God’s very throne room through our Savior Jesus Christ. Direct access to the God of the universe is not something that we should take for granted. Most of us don’t even have direct access to our elected political leaders (try walking into the White House unannounced and see what happens). Through prayer, however, God promises that we have access to him at any time. We can boldly come before the throne of Grace confident that we come to a loving Father who will give us grace and mercy in our time of need. How appropriate then, when gathered together as his body, that we approach his throne of grace together to intercede for one another and the world as God has called us to.
Prayer accomplishes great things. There are many motivations to pray, but one of the strongest we have is simply that prayer is powerful. When we pray in the name of Jesus, God hears and acts. James promises us that “The prayer of a righteous man has great power as it is working.” Jesus said: “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” The apostle John encourages us to have confidence that if we “ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”