We concluded our study on the book of Acts two weeks ago. Underlying all the events mentioned in the sermons is the fulfilment of the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Two key words often spoken of are “Proclamation” and “Discipleship.”
I would like to suggest that there is also a third emphasis in the Great Commission, that is, we should do the work with Jesus as our partner. Jesus concluded the Great Commission with the promise that He would never leave us or forsake us. Jesus knew that Gospel work would be fraught with dangers and difficulties. For encouragement, Jesus assured His disciples of His abiding presence, protection and help. Jesus knew that unless He was with them in the Gospel work, they would labour in vain.
How much do we rely on God to help us in our Gospel work at Hermon? We are familiar with Psalm 127:1, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” And I believe that all of us understand what the verse means. Yet, we need to ask ourselves, “Is my action an honest reflection of what I claim to believe?”
There are two major corporate events that Hermon has on a regular basis: a Weekly Worship Service and a Prayer Meeting once every two weeks. I thank God that our Weekly Worship Service is generally well attended. I thank God that many of our congregational members have decided to stay with Hermon at Henderson even though it entails some inconveniences and sacrifices on their part to come due to the location and distance.
However, the same cannot be said of our prayer meetings. Currently, our prayer meetings suffer woefully low attendance. They are attended mostly by the senior members, most of whom are in their late fifties and beyond.
What could be the reasons for the lack of support for our corporate prayer meetings? Could it be that we are too busy and tired at the end of a working day? Or the prayer meeting is boring? Or the prayer meeting is not engaging and too repetitive? Could it be a lack of good examples from leaders? One reason I heard is that members are afraid of being called to pray.
I wonder what your reply would be if someone were to ask you, “Do you think Jesus would attend prayer meetings these days?” May I urge you to compare your personal response to how Jesus would respond if His disciples were to ask Him the same question today.
How do you think Jesus would respond to prayer meetings? Let us investigate Scripture to understand the mind of our Lord Jesus regarding praying.
There are many instances recorded for us that show Jesus values prayer immensely. Immediately after His own baptism, He prayed (Luke 3:21). Jesus woke up very early to pray (Mark 1:35), treasuring His time with His Father more than sleep. After a long day of teaching, and having fed the five thousand, Jesus went up to the mountain to pray instead of calling it a day (Mark 6:46). Jesus spent long hours in prayer all night. He prayed before He appointed the twelve disciples (Luke 6:12). He showed us the relationship between making wise choices and prayer.
Did Jesus attend prayer meetings? Though Scripture does not specifically say so, we can infer from John 17 that Jesus was in a prayer meeting when He prayed with His disciples. The first nineteen verses were prayers for His disciples. I believe we would do well to note that this is a significant point as we endeavour to be Christ’s disciple-makers, and to depend on prayer for those whom we are discipling. If you would spend time to study John 17, I believe you will see the Great Commission being “prayed out” in those verses.
Back to the question, “Would Jesus attend prayer meetings these days?” Based on His life and His priorities, I am most certain that He would.
May I challenge us to consider how we can make our corporate prayer meetings an integral part of our lives in 2024 with this quote:
We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results. – R.A. Torrey
The Lord Jesus be our Helper and Guide. Amen. - Eld Sim Chow Meng