Eternity-Changing Intercession! – By Ruthie Jacobsen

Does your church pray?

I don’t mean a polite “invocation” at the beginning of the service. I want to know if your church corporately participates in intense, eternity-changing intercession when it gathers?

What is an “invocation” anyway? It is when we invoke, or invite God to enter our worship service. We are actually inviting Him into His house? What kind of double-speak is that? It’s His day, and He invites His people to worship in His house. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” the Lord urges through the apostle Paul in Hebrews 10:25.

A more appropriate request then might be that God would make us attentive so we can hear His voice. We might ask Him to “tune our hearts to sing Thy praise,” as the song says. We want Him to help us make the songs we sing true worship gifts to Him. We entreat Him to shut out the distractions and draw us into His presence. We ask that He will lay on our hearts the same burdens that are on His. Repentance and praise must be consistent ingredients.

While it’s true that “prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend” (Steps to Christ, p. 93), that doesn’t mean it is casual or impromptu or shallow. We would not come to speak to the people for God without preparation. Neither should we come to speak to God for the people without preparation. If it’s true as Jesus said that His house should be a house of prayer, then there is no more important part of the worship service than praying, and no more important preparation than preparing to pray.

I attended a service recently when the worship leader drew us up short with a simple question: Does our church spend more time in the announcements or in praying? Now I’m not suggesting that we worship with a stopwatch, but we should take seriously the management of spiritual priorities.

If our meetings are bland and predictable, if miracles are few, if our emphasis is on raising church expense rather than on raising the dead, maybe it’s because we see praying as supplemental rather than central, as a casual saying of grace at the beginning of the meal rather than as the joyous savoring of the meal itself.

Don’t you think this might be something to pray about?

Ruthie Jacobsen is Prayer Ministries coordinator for the North American Division.

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

Practical Application: 

If prayer is not a major part of everything you do at your church, now is the time to start praying that God would change this. It may not be easy at first to learn how to incorporate more prayer into the routine activities of the church, but if you and several others catch the vision, God will bring more and more on board.

Remember though, that Satan doesn’t mind how much time we spend talking and strategizing about prayer, just as long as we don’t take time to pray! Let’s break this habit and make his host tremble. Inspiration tells us, “More prayer and less talk is what God desires, and it would make his people a tower of strength” (Review and Herald, June 15, 1897, par. 13).

[NOTE: For more IDEAS on how to make prayer a bigger part of your church, please click the “download and print this blog” link above!]

Dear Heavenly Father, We talk a lot about prayer, but we really don’t pray in our churches or homes as we should. Please help this to change. Help us to make prayer a true priority. Help us to get past the distractions that the enemy throws across our path, and truly fall on our knees in fervent prayer for our churches, our children, backslidden members, and the lost around us. Thanks for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Promises to Claim: Mark 11:17

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  • Khethy

    Amen we need to be prayer warriors all the time we pray.

  • N Bal4 – Sinner saved by Grace

    I am pleading as the disciples did, ” Lord teach us to pray”

  • Sharon

    Amen!!!!!! yes we need to pray always without ceasing the Bible says if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
    2 Chronicles 7:14

    Now my eyes will be open and my ears will be attentive to the prayer offered in this place (church). For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever and my eyes and my heart will be there perpetually. 2 Chronicles 7:15-16.

    Let pray be our lifestyle, let us pray to God and He will answer and show us great and mighty things that we do not know.

  • Derek Morris

    At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan’s whole host trembles. He continues to call legions of evil angels to accomplish his object. And when angels, all-powerful, clothed with the armory of heaven, come to the help of the fainting, pursued soul, Satan and his host fall back, well knowing that their battle is lost. EGW, 1T 345

    • Beverley Joseph

      Pastor Morris, thanks for your regular comments on this site. I appreciate knowing that as a pastor you are leading by example. May God continue to bless you as you continue to lead His people.

    • Gloria Mosha-Onchiri

      Amen Pastor Morris.

    • Thembie Mapingire

      Amen

  • Ros Farrell

    “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know”. (Jer.33:3). Help me to take You at Your word Lord and press into Your presence in prayer. Amen

    • Gloria Mosha-Onchiri

      Amen Sis that is that my favourite verse.

    • Thembie Mapingire

      Amen Ros

    • Jack Wallace

      Amen

  • Malcolm

    “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.” Ps.55:16-18.
    We must not only pray in Christ’s name, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit(Christ Object Lessons,p.147)

  • Graham Wheeler

    I agree that prayer is a key to our corperate, and even more so to our personal walk with the Lord. For me the Invocation is not inviting God to His house, but our hearts to His house. or more to the point, that our hearts become His temple. We are told in Acts 7:48 “the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands;”. For me the invocation represents an invitation for the “real plan of salvation” to be wrought within, as opposed to a (Exodus 19:8) “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” type of salvation, which is a “”covenant with death”. Prayer for both our own hearts and those that the Lord has brought in our path is the life blood of the Fathers love in us. Truely when the Lord is invited in the temple of our heart then the text (Mark 14:58) “I will build another made without hands.”, may be fufilled within our hearts. Only then may His promise be fufilled in us: Jer 31:33 “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts;” This happens when we die to self, and become clay in His hands (1 Cor 15:31). For our will must truely be (Gal 2:20) “crucified with Christ:”. That we may pray as Jesus prayed: (Luke 22:42) “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Then, by faith, the old promise of heritage will be fufilled: (Isaiah 54:17) “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” May this cry ring in our hearts, that our our righteousness, is of the Lord.

    • Kayreen kufa

      Amen

  • Ken

    What would it be like to walk into the sanctuary before Sabbath services begin and see everyone praying instead of visiting? Then we would know we had entered a house of prayer, then we would know the people realized the need for a closer walk with Christ – much closer. If there were more earnest prayer, individually and corporately, would we begin to see revival? Would we possibly see the roof and walls shake with his presence? Do we want that – the outpouring of His Spirit?

    I get it, some friends are only seen once a week at church service and it’s a natural tendency to want that fellowship, even if it is only a short greeting and a few friendly words, but wouldn’t it be a better experience to reach out to a friend and ask for their prayer request? What a beautiful image it is to imagine everyone in earnest prayer, sharing burdens and praises and bringing them to Jesus in prayer – walking into the sanctuary and seeing that would truly inspire a sense of holy reverence. Visitors, and all others would walk away that day and know that they spent time with our Father in Heaven.

    Thank you for this post – such a timely reminder of the difference prayer can make.

    • Winn

      Amen Ken.

    • Caleb

      Thank you brother Ken, most often in our parts of the world we complain that there is no power in the SDA church, but how will we experience the power of the holy spirit by sitting idle? Thanks for the reminder again. And I pray that we all realize the need for prayers and the power we will experience if we begun praying now.

  • Wojtek Janiuk

    Amen

  • Mutungi Joel

    Amen. Thanks a lot for this mind-opening information

  • Ndodanayothando

    prayer without faith is like trying to make a call without airtime, lets have faith as we pray.

  • dwight hanawalt

    I remember when I was a kid growing up, we had prayer bands at my church on Sabbath afternoon. Why aren’t we still doing this? We will be flocking to the church when we hear about Sunday law approaching.