Yesterday evening, our church gathered for a corporate prayer meeting. Our typical prayer meeting is during our midweek service on Wednesday evening, but we decided several weeks ago to hold one unique prayer meeting on Sunday evening and it was quite refreshing. The meeting was led by six different men who focused on different types of prayers. Each prayer section began with a Scripture reading and then went into the prayer. When a church gathers and seriously desires to meet with God in prayer it’s a sweet time for the entire church.
Vertical Prayer: We began our time of prayer focused on God. We spent time praising him for his character, his goodness, his grace, his power in creation, his sovereignty over the universe, and put our focus on the greatness of God.
Psalm 73:25-26 – Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Horizontal Prayer: We engaged in a time of prayer for our church family. We prayed for the church to grow spiritually, numerically, and in diversity. We prayed for God to protect our pastors, to guard us from theological error, and to break our hearts for the things that God hates. Each of the members of the body matter, and we sought to pray for the needs of our people from a proper lens as we trust in God’s providential plan to be accomplished for his glory.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 – For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,  which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,  that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Prayer of Confession: We spent time confessing our sin to God as we were led in a prayer of confession. We called out to God and asked God to forgive us for known sin in our lives and to revive our hearts to serve and worship from a pure heart with pure motives.
Psalm 139:23-24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Prayer for Unity: We focused on the need for ongoing effort to be a unified church. Although each individual church, like ours, is diverse in many ways—we are called to strive for unity. A divided church is a really bad witness to a lost world, and during this time last night we spent time asking God to make us a more unified church who truly loves one another as we’re called.
Ephesians 4:29-32 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Prayer for Elected Officials and Leaders: We are called to pray for our elected leaders. Although we often overlook this responsibility, we took time to pray for our president, governor, members of congress, the senate, our local mayor, our chief of police, and our sheriff. As we know from Scripture that positions of leadership in our government are ordained by God and are put in place to uphold justice. Although the system is largely broken, we’re called to pray for them and we were given that opportunity last night as a church family.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 – First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.
Prayer for Individual Families: The family is the bedrock of our society and it was instituted by God. In recent days, the family has undergone much attack and remains under a fierce attack to this present day in America. As a local church in America, we were able to pray for strength to be faithful to God in our culture that hates God. We prayed for the mothers to be strong in prayer and for the hearts of the children to be turned to their fathers and the fathers to their children.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 – “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
We concluded the evening with a time of responsive reading through Psalm 18. Overall it was a sweet time together in prayer as a church family. It was a delight to be together and to pray corporately. As a benediction, we prayed for the evangelistic and mission work of our church to be strengthened for the glory of Christ. As we were leaving the campus last night, we prayed for God to send us out as faithful ambassadors who speak the truth of the good news of Jesus. Charles Spurgeon once said:
Oh! men and brethren, what would this heart feel if I could but believe that there were some among you who would go home and pray for a revival – men whose faith is large enough, and their love fiery enough to lead them from this moment to exercise unceasing intercessions that God would appear among us and do wondrous things here, as in the times of former generations.