And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint, Luke 18:1

The human body is a most complex and supreme creation. God’s hand is manifest in the intricate interplay between the various body cells, organs and biochemical reactions that have to go on to maintain a healthy life.

Every body part has a distinct and unique function. In order for our body to be healthy, all our organs have to do their job correctly and at the right time. So it is not surprising that the apostle Paul used the human body as an analogy for the body of believers who call on the name of Christ. As Christ followers, we are members of one body – each of us distinct and unique, yet having to function in harmony for the church to be effective (1 Corinthians 12:12-26).

The human body needs oxygen for power and to thrive. If the various cells do not receive oxygen, they will be unable to function. If a significant number of cells do not work, then the body function becomes impaired. A body starved of oxygen would end up in a coma.

The spiritual equivalent of oxygen is the Holy Spirit. The church body needs the power of the Holy Spirit to invigorate and empower its members. And just as oxygen is sent to cells in the human body through the blood, the power of God to work through the church is mediated through prayer. Prayer is the lifeblood of the church. A church starved of the Spirit’s power will be ineffective – and always in a spiritual coma.

Prayer is an integral part of the any church’s mission. Every ministry and cell group is encouraged to incorporate prayer as a significant part of their ministry. It is a mystery why God wants us to pray continuously (1 Thess 5:17), when He is sovereign, and can do as He pleases. But He wants us to ask Him, to pray continuously, and we can only obey in faithfulness to what He tells us to do. Everything can be brought to His throne of grace (Phil 4:6).

It is obvious that the declension of spiritual power in churches today is due in part to a decline in corporate prayer. While many faithful prayer warriors privately have been interceding for the church, church gatherings for prayer seem to be in few in number and often poorly attended.

If we are to be effective for God in our general goals in missions and evangelism and personal goals of holiness and character development, then the key to it all is to Pray More – to enable the power of the Spirit to move all the obstacles. We are to pray more as individuals, and especially in groups, offering prayer constantly (e.g. Acts 12:1-19). For where two or more are gathered in His name, Jesus is there.

Set aside good amounts of time to pray more in your family and cell groups and other meetings, as a praying church. Let the best time be allocated to prayer, and not the last few hurried minutes. Prayer is important work, and our best work is done when we are fresh.

Dr. Joshua Raj