Corporate Prayer (continued)
2. Corporate Prayer Must Be Authoritative
The church at prayer must be on the ground of absolute authority. It must not be in doubt, uncertainty, or weakness, but in assurance and confidence. There must be the ground of authoritative appeal to God. There must be the ground of authority over the evil forces at work in any given situation. The church must have the assured right in its position and in its intercession.
That right and authority is respectively the infinite virtue and efficacy of the Blood of Christ and its testimony, and the Name of Christ as above every other name.
The church - at all times, but - especially when at prayer must be consistent with all that the Blood of Christ means as a testimony against sin, condemnation, and death. These things mean a closed door to Heaven and God. The Blood of Christ has forever been the ground, and the only ground, of "the new and living way" to the Throne of Grace. The Name of Christ is the very synonym for supreme authority. But even so, it is not just a title, but the embodiment of a nature wholly satisfying to God; of a work perfectly accomplished; and of a position fully accorded Him. These are the elements of authority, and the ground of authoritative prayer. On this ground the church has a right to pray and expect. It can do more than ask upward; it can challenge outward - "in the Name."
3. Corporate Prayer Should Be Executive
When we use the word "executive" we mean "decisive." If you were a member of an executive body in any business concern, you would be a person marked by certain features, that is, if the concern with which you were connected was a rally vital character.
a. You must be recognized as a person with a real business mind. That concern would give a seriousness to your demeanor and attitude. It would rule out diffusiveness and irrelevance, and knit you together with your colleagues as one with an integrating objective.
b. You would be a person who would be marked by a will for decisions. Wasting of time; indecision; tentativeness; carelessness; and all such things would greatly disturb and trouble you. Your soul would be saying, 'Don't let us be always and only talking about things; waiting for something to happen, and hoping that it will, some day. Let us be executive, and have issues settled, and conclusions reached. Let there be an element of decisiveness about our transactions. Let us reach for and be set upon a verdict.' Surely, such features are traceable in the prayers in the Bible with Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, etc., and in the New Testament Church and churches!
Our praying in meetings is all too tentative and indecisive. We do not really go out for a verdict. We stop before we have the assurance that we are through on that issue. There is such a thing as taking as well as asking. We ought to go away, not wondering, to say nothing of forgetting, but rather expecting and looking for Heaven's answer. That answer ought to be already in our hearts. If what we have said is true of any Executive worthy of the name, who has a serious Concern to serve, should it be less or otherwise with the church which has the greatest of all interests to serve, responsibilities to carry, and Name to honor? We should not go to the place and time of prayer just because it is 'prayer-meeting night;' or to do our duty to our 'church', or for conscience sake; certainly not to give certain others the occasion to pray while we listen and - more or less - agree. We are the church! We are in the greatest of all business! We should go thus-minded and with 'purpose of heart' determined to cooperate and - so help us God - to have outstanding, urgent issues settled for 'the sake of the Name.' On arriving our instant action should be to take the right ground and ask fervently that all should be taken into the hands of the Holy Spirit. One word remains for the present.
4. Corporate Prayer Must Be Combative
It is impressive that in that part of the greatest Church letter in the New Testament where its militant character is emphasized and its armor portrayed, the Apostle gives such a definite place to prayer (Ephesians 6).
There is nothing which draws out the "wiles" of the evil powers so much as corporate prayer. Everything is done to smother, blanket, confuse, divert, preoccupy, disturb, distract, annoy, hinder, weary, waste time, and many other things, all with the object to see that there is no real impact of Christ's authority upon their kingdom.
If we realize this we shall 'gird up the loins of our minds,' we shall 'stand and withstand.' Being alive to what is involved and what is happening, we can be no more passive than a soldier could be if he saw his country's interests and his comrades' lives involved in his attitude and action.
There is a real combativeness in corporate prayer, and we shall not get anywhere if our fighting spirit - not in the flesh, but in the Holy Spirit - has been let go or taken from us.
(continued with # 35 - (The Divine Ministry of Delay)