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Prayer in the church

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The prayer life of the NT provides a pattern from which the modern church can learn, both in terms of the importance of prayer, and also matters for prayer.

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Prayer was at the centre of the life of the early church

They prayed when they met together

Acts 1:14 ESV
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
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They prayed about the selection and ordination of Christian leaders

Acts 13:2–3 ESV
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
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They prayed during persecution

Acts 12:5 ESV
So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
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They prayed for healing

Acts 9:40 ESV
But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
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The apostles’ teaching on prayer in church life

The importance of prayer

Colossians 4:2 ESV
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
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Prayer for the spread of the gospel

Colossians 4:3–4 ESV
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
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Prayer for the sick

James 5:14 ESV
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Prayer for sinners

1 John 5:16–17 ESV
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
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Prayer for God’s servants

Romans 15:30 ESV
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,
The practice of the apostles

1 Corinthians 11:4–5 ESV
Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.
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The practice of the apostles

Prayer was central to their ministry

Acts 6:3–4 ESV
Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

They prayed for the church

Colossians 1:9–10 ESV
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
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