There appears to be a distinction in early Christian worship between the Jewish tradition (fixed forms, with a somewhat didactic preaching) and gentile worship (free worship with ecstatic utterances). Paul’s preaching appears rational and exegetical, as do his remarks to the Corinthian community (1 Cor. 12–14). Paul’s sermon preached in Athens (Acts 17:22–31) is a prime example of logic and coherence. It begins with a thesis statement and builds an argument from the premise that moves toward a logical conclusion. This sermon was a model for the more systematic and academic sermons that appeared in the Middle Ages. It also influenced Protestants, who were drawn to its pedagogical approach.
Discipling is the process of intentionally investing your life in the lives of others on God’s behalf. This definition specifically comes out of two key NT passages related to the term disciple, one spoken by Jesus and the other written by the apostle Paul. In Matthew 28:18–20, . . . Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
In the fearful contest in this world between God and the devil, between good and evil, and between heaven and hell, prayer is the mighty force for overcoming Satan, giving dominion over sin, and defeating hell. Only praying leaders are to be counted on in this dreadful conflict. Praying believers alone are to be put to the front. These are the only sort who are able to successfully contend with all the evil forces. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
To “pray without ceasing,” to pray in everything, and to pray everywhere -- these commands of continuity are expressive of the sleepless energy of prayer, of the exhaustless possibilities of prayer, and of its exacting necessity. Prayer can do all things. Prayer must do all things. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
God is everywhere, watching, superintending, overseeing, governing everything in the highest interest of His church, and carrying forward His plans and executing His purposes in creation and redemption. He is not an absentee God. He did not make the world with all that is in it, and turn it over to so-called natural laws, and then retire into the secret places of the universe having no regard for it or for the working of His laws. His hand is on the throttle. The work is not beyond His control. Earth’s inhabitants and its affairs are not running independent of Almighty God. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
Luther is quoted as once saying: “The Christian’s trade is praying.” Certainly, for a great reason, the preacher’s trade should be praying. We fear greatly that many preachers know nothing of this trade of praying, and hence they never succeed at this trade. A severe apprenticeship in the trade of praying must be served in order to become a journeyman in it. Not only is it true that there are few journeymen at work at this praying trade, but numbers have never even been apprentices at praying. No wonder so little is accomplished by them. God and the supernatural are left out of their programs. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
Prayer is not an indifferent or a small thing. It is not a sweet little privilege. It is a great prerogative, far-reaching in its effects. Failure to pray entails losses far beyond the person who neglects it. Prayer is not a mere episode of the Christian life. Rather the whole life is a preparation for and the result of prayer. In its condition, prayer is the sum of religion. Faith is but a channel of prayer. Faith gives it wings and swiftness. Prayer is the lungs through which holiness breathes. Prayer is not only the language of spiritual life, but makes its very essence and forms its real character. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
Faith gives birth to prayer, and grows stronger, strikes deeper, rises higher, in the struggles and wrestlings of mighty petitioning. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the assurance and realization of the inheritance of the saints. Faith, too, is humble and persevering. It can wait and pray; it can stay on its knees, or lie in the dust. It is the one great condition of prayer; the lack of it lies at the root of all poor praying, feeble praying, little praying, unanswered praying. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
Many do not understand this trade of praying because they have never learned it, and hence do not work at it. Many miracles ought to be worked by our praying. Why not? Is the arm of the Lord shortened that He cannot save? Is His ear heavy that He cannot hear? Has prayer lost its power because iniquity abounds and the love of many has grown cold? Has God changed from what He once was? To all these queries we enter an emphatic negative. God can as easily today work miracles by praying as He did in the days of old. “I am the Lord; I change not.” “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
The joy that is gained from fellowship with other believers, together raising our voices to heaven in praise and worship, is a brief glimpse of the glory to come.