Every church is to be “a house of prayer for the nations” (Mark 11:17). The four foundational pillars for that “house of prayer” are the glory of God, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, the Gospel, and divine desperation. The first four building stones for that house of prayer are praying the heart of Jesus, praying the name of Jesus, praying the Word of God, and praying in the Spirit. The fifth building stone is praying in holiness.
Often, we come to the Lord out of a desperate need to be cleansed from our sin. Though we are saved by grace through the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord, and we are children of God who have the Spirit of God, we still sin every day.
Yet, the only prayer God will hear is in holiness. God promises in Psalm 66:18 that “if I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear”. We have to pray with “clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4). This means praying in holiness.
To pray in holiness means to pray the Gospel every day. That is why prayer always begins with the Gospel. Paul Miller, commenting on his book, The Praying Life, writes,
In the gospel, because of Jesus’ death for us, we are accepted by grace. The only thing we bring to the table is our helplessness. In fact, if we try to bring our goodness, the gospel doesn’t work. Prayer works the same way. Jesus tells us to come helpless, “weary and heavy laden.” So prayer isn’t a discipline but learned desperation. It’s not so much a mountain to climb as a valley to fall into.
That is what it means to pray in holiness.
Instead of thinking prayer is only for holy people, know this: prayer is for helpless and desperate people who need a Savior every day. That is you and me!
Every church is to be a house of prayer for the nations (Mark 11:17). The four foundational pillars for that “house of prayer” are the glory of God, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, the Gospel, and the divine desperation. The first three building stones for that “house of prayer” are: praying the heart of Jesus, praying the name of Jesus, and praying the Word of God.
The next building stone is praying in the Spirit. A lot of ink through the centuries has been spilled on what it means to pray in the Spirit.
We are all commanded in Ephesians 6:18, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
Some believe this means praying in one’s own prayer language which is possible from 1 Corinthians 14:14-15. Others believe this is prayer that is fervent and intense.
Given the context, I believe it means praying prevailing prayer. As someone said, “pray until you have prayed, and God has heard your cry“. Let me give you an example. When I first start jogging, I just want to quit. I hate the first mile. I have to jog through that first mile, then I feel like I have gone for a run. Prayer is the same way. We have to persevere in prayer and pray through until we know we have the mind of the Spirit as we pray. Then we know we are praying God’s will.
This is what our Lord Jesus did as He prayed at Gethsemane. He prayed until He was fully surrendered and in agreement with His Heavenly Father. We must pray the same way. Pray through an issue until you know you have the mind of the Spirit. It may take ten minutes, or it may take hours, or perhaps days (see Daniel 10 for an example of 3 weeks of prayer).
Keep persevering in prayer and do not give up. That is what it means to Pray in the Spirit.
The Lord Jesus calls every local church to be a “house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17). The foundational pillars for that “house of prayer” in any local church are: the glory of God, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, the Gospel and divine desperation.
The first two building stones to this house of prayer for all the nations are praying the heart of Jesus and praying the Name of Jesus.
The third building stone is praying the word of God. Our Lord Jesus said in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Jesus ties intimacy with Him and answers to prayer to His Word.
How do you know you are praying the Lord’s will? You pray His Word. There is a tremendous promise related to God’s Word and answers to prayer in 1 John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” This promise is revolutionary, but very simple. God never promises to answer “YES” to any of our prayers unless they are according to His will. We know His will through His revealed Word. So pray His Word! That is always His will. He will answer that prayer every time.
Here are some prayers to pray for others and for yourself that God will answer: John 17:20-21; Ephesians 1:17-19; 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-12.
So pray the heart of Jesus and in the Name of Jesus, but always pray the Word of Jesus. That prayer He will answer as a big AMEN!