Corporate Prayer: The Blessing of Coming Together: An excerpt from "Going Higher with God in Prayer" by A. W. Tozer

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Corporate Prayer: The Blessing of Coming Together: An excerpt from “Going Higher with God in Prayer” by A. W. Tozer

August 19, 2022 - A. W. Tozer

A man prays at sunset atop a high mountain. © EVERST /stock.adobe.com

A man prays at sunset atop a high mountain. © EVERST /stock.adobe.com

The following excerpt is from Chapter 10 of Going Higher with God in Prayer by A. W. Tozer and James L. Snyder provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2022. Used by permission.


Corporate prayer is the body of Christ or Church praying, the people of God praying. And what should be the aim of our prayers? Whatever it is should also be the aim of our lives, so that our prayers and our lives parallel each other. We do not live one way and pray another. We should want something, and then we should live for that thing. So we must pray in harmony with our walk.

A great many people are focused on numbers and are financially successful because they have strong personalities and know skillfully how to take advantage of the public’s known habits.

Religious leaders learn the habits of the religious public and then play to these habits. Moreover, when they take “bold steps of faith” after praying all night, they are always careful to move in the direction that they know the public has proven they will support.

I do not want anything to do with that. I began preaching on the street corner, and I suppose I can go back to it. We have to pray in harmony with high purposes, and we must work in harmony with high purposes, and we must give in harmony with high purposes.

Now, what are these purposes?

There are only two, and from them others may grow. But these two requests or desires should be primary. They should take priority over all other prayer requests, including even the intermittent small prayer requests that I might have about myself and my family.

Restoration

One of them is the restoration of the most high God’s vision for the world. This world should see a vision of the God who would strike them down, a God who would drive them dumb as he drove Daniel dumb or caused John to fall flat on his face. This kind of God is absent from the Church; He is gone not only from liberalism but from the evangelical churches as well.

God’s honor has been lost to man, and the God of today’s Christianity is a very rich weakling that certain psychological laws can manipulate. That God’s glory should return is imperative; the glory should return and be seen among men. We read about it in the Psalms, but we don’t know what we’re reading. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth” (Psalm 57:5).

Then we come to the New Testament. “Do this,” said Jesus to His Father, “that men may know, and that I have manifested Your name to the men . . .” (John 17:6). He died that God’s glory might be manifested to the world, and the coming of Jesus to the world in the first place was so that the world that had lost the vision of God should regain it again.

Now, the first corporate prayer of the New Testament begins with a salutation: “Our Father.” After that comes the first request: “Hallowed be Your name.” In other words, before any other request is made to God, we should want His sacred, holy name to be hallowed before mankind. If we are to follow the teachings of Jesus, then we are to follow this procedure. “Hallowed be Your name.” This is first—not second and not third, but first. The glory of God should be restored, and the vision of the most high God should once more appear to men.

If this vision should ever appear to men in churches and be preached again, if the ministers of the sanctuary should go back to preaching on the perfections and attributes and character and being of God, it would soon have the effect of bringing sinners to their knees in confession. It would have the effect of making Christians separate from the world and hating themselves in their carnal ways.

No project or organization knows anything valid until God’s glory is restored. And in all of our prayers, we ought to pray for this.

Deliverance

The second great desire is that the Church should be delivered from her Babylonian captivity.

This Babylonian captivity has slowly seeped into the American church so that most people cannot differentiate between true biblical Christianity and an impostor. We are being directed away from the true God to serve a false god in all its glory. Most of Babylonian captivity adopts the current culture as the level of worship that it might give. This enslaves us and keeps us from experiencing the spiritual freedoms we have in Christ. We are in bondage, and many do not recognize their own bondage.

It is like the Baal worship in the Old Testament during the time of Elijah. Standing up against this, Elijah worked by God’s grace and power to defeat this kind of worship. If my worship today is not based upon my freedom in Christ, I am still in bondage to the Baal captivity syndrome.

We must pray and work that the Church may be freed, that she may come back to separation and devotion and trinity and sanctification; that she may come back again to the glory of God, not in order to be known, publicizing herself, but to make God known. These are the two things that every church is under terrible binding obligation to get done. We need to pray enough and labor enough and live in line with our prayers that God’s glory should once again appear among men.

Oh, that God might appear again as He did to the Moravians when God bestowed upon them a loving newness of the Savior. Instantaneously they went out, hardly knowing whether they were on earth or in heaven. This can only come to a Church that takes itself seriously; this can only come to a Church that accepts the truth and will come and yield and settle itself to pray for two things: for the glory of God to be restored and the Church to be purified.

We must be different and changed and transformed by the glory and the power of God. We must take that kind of gospel to the nations.

Take to the heathen world and to the dying road not only the story that God loves them, but also the story of a great God, high and lifted up, who created the heavens and the earth and before whose face the heavens and the earth will someday flee. A God who in His majesty rides across the heavens, but who also in His love gave His only begotten Son. That’s the only kind of gospel worth taking to others. It’s the only kind of preaching worth preaching.

More by A. W. Tozer

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