Why is Prayer the highest priority for Alpha USA?
Prayer is central to our relationship with God. We want to commune and spend time with God because we love Him. As we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8); the Holy Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts (Romans 5:5) and reveals Jesus to us (John 16:14). This helps to equip us to be better ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). For example, when people meet us on an Alpha course we want them to experience and know Jesus Christ through our lives as well as through the Bible (the written word).
In summary, the first reason we pray on Alpha is because we love God, we want to know Him more and we want to be more effective in making Him know to others.
In order to be able to do more for God (because we love Him), we need His strength and power. This comes directly from His presence and through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11), and His joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Also, “those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30).
Wisdom, Guidance and Humility
We are here on earth to do His will and not our own (John 4:34, 5:30, 6:38, and 8:29). The more we know God, the more we realize that the only meaningful thing to do is His will. Anything else is a waste of time and energy (Psalm 127:1). Spending time with God in prayer helps to ensure we hear His voice regarding His will for our lives and for Alpha. If we don’t pray, we are more vulnerable to ‘go off the rails’ (Luke 22:46).
Humility means we recognize we are totally dependent on God – we can do nothing apart from Him (John 5:19). Therefore, we desperately seek His face for the way forward. Three of the reasons that we don’t pray are:
laziness – the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 25:41);
pride – we have forgotten or never realized how dependent we are on Him (Acts 17:28); and
un-confessed sin – we are uncomfortable in God’s presence (Genesis 3:10).
To release God’s kingdom and will on earth
(e.g. across America)
Jesus said pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Luke 11:2, 3). There are many examples of this happening in the Bible and throughout church history. For example:
As long as Moses kept praying, Joshua defeated the enemy (Exodus 17:11).
As Daniel prayed and fasted, God sent an angel to answer his request (Daniel 10:12).
As Paul and Silas sang hymns in prison, the doors were flung open, salvation broke out (the jailer and his household) and a new church started in Philippi (Acts 16:23-24).
As Christians cried out to God in Uganda (out of desperation and devastation), revival broke out, evil was defeated and now 40% of the 30M population are disciples of Jesus Christ!!
All revivals and outpourings of the Holy Spirit can be traced to people praying.
Because we are Disciples (Christ Followers)
Jesus modeled how we should walk on earth. Scripture tells us that Jesus made prayer his priority, often going off on His own and going without sleep in order to spend time with His father (Luke 5:16, 6:12, 9:18).
God tells us to pray:
For forgiveness and to heal the land (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18)
Earnestly and with vigilance and thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2)
Finally, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and Jesus said, “My house (or temple) shall be called a house of prayer”(Matthew 21:13).
Let us encourage and spur one another on to more prayer (and fasting).
With much love,