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The Prayer Circle: Pray Under the Active Headship of Jesus Christ

Thanks for meeting us at the prayer circle.

Jesus is the Head of the church which He has called His body. As a demonstration with our physical bodies, God gave us a spinal cord that connects our head to our body. In our spiritual lives, He gave us prayer to keep us connected to the Head.

Scripture-based prayer connects us to our life-giving Head. Learn more about it in this week’s Prayer Circle.

Pray Under the Active Headship of Jesus Christ

As we continue our discussion from our last session, consider these words from Colossians 2:18-19.

Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

There are many passages like this one that portray Christ as the Head and the Church as the body (Eph. 1:15-23; 4:13-16; 5:22,23; Col 2:6-13). When we see the miracle-mystery dynamic of Christ as Head pouring His life into the church by His Spirit, we realize that Scripture-based praying becomes the communicating spinal cord between Christ and the church. Remember Jesus instructed the early church to “stay connected.”

We all know people who because of damage to their spinal cord are paralyzed in varying degrees. So is the church who by sin or neglect are paralyzed because of their broken connection with Christ.

In a similar fashion, a church can flop around like a chicken with its head cut off. Without clear signals from Christ, we lack clear direction, and, in our insecurity, we begin to flail around just to say we are doing something. Such ministries are exhausting and fruitless.

Jesus Christ present and in charge is the paradigm for success (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2; Revelation 1). Jesus Christ present and in charge is also our platform for conflict resolution which is so desperately needed (Matthew 18:15-20).

The fastest growing sin in the evangelical church that cooperates with society in helping pave the way for the spirit of antichrist is individualism. When we think we can function as lone rangers and have no need to be in prayer with and accountable to the body under the authority of Jesus, we are tempted to create God in our own image. In Acts 5 Ananias and Sapphira brought great harm to the church when, in pretense, they acted independently of God and the body.

Prayer is much greater than bringing a list of requests to God. Prayer is letting Jesus Himself come into our midst to commune with us and glorify His name through meeting our needs. Our Lord’s heart cry is evident in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” O. Hallesby, in his classic book entitled Prayer, commented as follows:

“I doubt that I know of a passage in the whole Bible that throws great light upon prayer than this one does. It is, it seems to me, the key which opens the door into the holy and blessed realm of prayer.”

To pray is nothing more involved than to let Jesus into our needs. To pray is to give Jesus permission to employ His powers in the alleviation of our distress. To pray is to let Jesus glorify His name in the midst of our needs.”

Commenting on the Hallesby excerpt, Oliver Price in Pray with Christ, went on to say:

“Private prayer is necessary, but we also need to pray with others, striving to unite under the headship of Christ and His shepherd care. Praying with others in His presence under His active leadership is also necessary. A lady known for her fervent prayers said, ‘That’s where the power is.’ Another lady commented, ‘We need to listen to one another’s hearts in the presence of God.’”

“Certainly, we need the power of God’s Spirit breathing in and through us as we pray. Praying corporately can be structured so as to focus on the presence of Christ and unite our prayers under His life-transforming headship. The church began not as a preaching service with a small prayer meeting (Acts 1:14); rather, the church was a prayer meeting.”

One final word. There are many subtle substitutes for Jesus. Of course, we might all recognize sinful things, carnal things, fleshly things, secular things, man’s wisdom, good ideas, but even noble causes and good things can take the place of the best thing—Him—Christ alone. Join hearts under His headship and enjoy the fountain of His life that springs up in your ministry.

Joe Humrichous

Joe Humrichous is the executive director of Paradigm One and Bible Prayer Fellowship. The message of the sufficiency of Christ for both the pastor and the local church was birthed during a time of brokenness in his early ministry. Now after 50 years in ministry, Joe is passionate to share this reality as it applies to corporate prayer and church leadership. He recently served as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Covington, Indiana. He and his wife Teresa have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.

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