We are made for relationship with God in Jesus. Deepening that relationship must be our first priority. This happens through prayer and study of God’s Word.
It is, further, in God’s power, not our own, that we must seek to be instruments of His Kingdom.
We must always remain connected to Jesus, the true vine, in prayer and study of the scriptures for without him we can do nothing.
Importance of prayer
Prayer needs to be at the centre of our lives as Christians. It should be our last act before we fall asleep and the first act when we wake.
Develop and grow
Teaching people how to pray is perhaps the most important task that we undertake.
Some churches have used Lent and Advent as a time to provide teaching on prayer using visiting speakers, study guides and small groups.
Sometimes a number of people who subscribe to the same Bible Reading Notes also meet regularly to discuss what they have learnt and to pray together.
Quiet days and retreats
Prayer can sometimes be more about what we undo than what we do. Sometimes we need to get away or to rest from our busyness in order to achieve the kind of peace that leads to a deeper communion with God.
Many churches (and some deaneries) now plan a regular pattern of quiet days and retreats. The Retreat Association maintains a directory of retreat centres and a list of retreats that individuals can sign up for (see www.retreats.org.uk).
Accompanies all of the Church’s work
Ole Hallesby wrote that ‘If the labour of prayer does not precede as well as accompany all of your work in the Kingdom, it will become nothing but the work of a human, more or less capably done and with more or less effort and agitation as the case may be, but resulting in nothing but weariness both to ourselves and to others.’
Prayer before, during and after church business meetings should be more than merely perfunctory. Prayer is part of the business of the meeting.