â€œAnd on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.â€ (Acts 16:13)
In the above-mentioned scripture there is an odd Old English word used to make a point about this prayer meeting that Paul was having in the city of Philippi where he was going begin to evangelize new ground for the Lord. The word “wont” from the Greek means accustomed or deemed. It could also mean the usual. In other words this place by the riverside, where Paul found these women together, was the usual place for people to pray.
If we look to Luke 22:39 we see that Jesus, coming from the last supper, came out and went to the Mt. Of Olives “as he was wont.” Meaning, it was usualÂ for him to go to the Mt. Of Olives as a place of prayer. It was normal. It was something they were accustomed to seeing him do. It was something they were accustomed to and it was usualÂ for them to do; to go to a place of prayer. Little did they know this would be their last opportunity to pray with Him for it was at this garden of Gethsemane where He prayed His prayer for the cup to pass.
The point that I want to make is that far too often, prayer is not something we are wont to do. It is not our usual. It is not what we are accustomed to. It is something we do when emergencies arise. It is something that we do when we are in church. But really, personal prayer and devotion needs to be a lot more usual than that. The power of prayer, the depth of prayer, and the availability of the things of God can only be accessed through prayer.
As District Superintendent it was heavy upon me to see if I could heighten the amount of prayer going on from pastor to pastor and church to church. When I found out about he World Network of Prayer’s effort in the state of Louisiana to network churches both North, East, South, and West of each individual church for consistent and regular prayer, I felt like this would be a great move for the MD/DC District to make. I sat down with our district board and together we mapped out a plan where we were able to assignÂ each individual church with 4 other churches for them to consistently pray for on a regular basis. This has been a tremendous blessing.
Every Sunday night, I have one of our ministers lead our congregation in a segment of prayer for not only our 4 churches but also many of the other churches in our district. As each minister comes to lead in prayer there seems to be a heightened and a keener sense of the presence of God. Some of our most dynamic times in service has been the times set aside for lifting up each other. The scripture does tell us to bear one another’s burdens and to pray one for another. Certainly this fulfills, in a very powerful way, God’s direction in our lives to not only pray for ourselves but to lift up our brothers and sisters.
Col. 2:2 tells us that we should be “knit together in love unto the riches of the full assurance of understanding” How else can we be knit together if we are not praying together and for one another? The words “knit together” literally mean to unite, to drive together, to coalesce, and to join together in affection. Without the affection and love of the brethren we cannot be knit together. When we are pray for one another and lifting each other up we are knitting ourselves together.
The kingdom of God and all of its power cannot be manifest without it being prayed into manifestation. Jesus told us in Matthew chapter 6 that we should pray “thy kingdom come.” He is not asking us to pray for the second coming, he is asking us to pray for God’s power and glory of his kingdom to be manifested in this earthly realm. When we pray one for another, calling for the kingdom to be manifested for one another, we are opening avenues for each other and with each other that can only lead to greater and more intense revival. God help us to interlock! Help us to coalesce! Help us to be knit together in love through prayer.
We have asked all of our churches to pray for their neighboring churches around them and the ones they have been assigned to in at least one public service a week. In several of our churches we have lists of all the churches in our district that need prayer. Thank God for the people of God that know how to lift up these pastors that we might have one great big united move of the spirit.
Ron Libby is pastor of Christian Life Center in Gaithersburg, MD., and the Superintendent for the Maryland district, UPCI