This series on prayer, helps us to understand that we can minister (serve others) through prayer. Although, praying for others happens in private and goes unnoticed, God notices it. Prayer ministry may not get recognition here on earth, but it is one that God recognizes in heaven.
Duration:57 mins 55 secs

We can serve others through prayer, by praying for them.

Colossians 4:12,13
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.

The church in Colossae was established by one of Paul's co-workers named Epaphras.

Colossians 1:7
7 as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,

Paul himself had not been there and had never met these people. This letter was written by Paul at Rome during his imprisonment around 62 A.D.. (Acts 28:16, 28:30). When Paul was a prisoner in Rome, Epaphras came to him with an account of the Church at Colossae. He remained with Paul in Rome and was, in a sense, his "fellow prisoner" (Philemon 1:23).

Epaphras served by praying for believers in Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis. Colossae was approximately 12 miles from Laodicea and 14 miles from Hierapolis.

This is a great ministry - since it has no recognition among men, but is recognized by God in heaven

Matthew 6:5,6
5 "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Our prayers ascend like incense before God.

Revelation 5:8
8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 8:3,4
3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.

Praying for others - We call this intercession.
We give our time, energy, effort to pray for others.
This is ministry - we are serving others through prayer.
Anyone can do this, anywhere, anytime.

Some instructions:
Don't use prayer ministry to promote yourself.
Don't go around bragging about yourself as an "intercessor". Just quietly do your praying.

Pray for other believers and for those serving the Lord

Ephesians 6:18-20
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Romans 15:30-32
30 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,
31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.

Philippians 1:19-21
19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

The Early Church : House Prayer Meeting
This was in the year 44 A.D., about 14 years after the birth of the Church, on the day of Pentecost in 30 A.D.
Herod Agrippa-I, the grandson of Herod the Great, had been appointed king for the Jews in Palestine, by the Roman Emperor Caligula in 41 A.D. (Herod the Great was king over Judea back in 4 B.C and at the time when Jesus was born).

Acts 12:1-17
1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.
2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.
5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.
7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands.
8 Then the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and tie on your sandals"; and so he did. And he said to him, "Put on your garment and follow me."
9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people."
12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.
13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer.
14 When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate.
15 But they said to her, "You are beside yourself!" Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, "It is his angel."
16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren." And he departed and went to another place.

Notice how the Early Church engaged in prayer during this difficult time.
They met together in homes, one of which was the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many gathered for prayer.

5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.

God answered their prayer and worked a great deliverance.

Some of the great moves of God were birthed out of simple prayer gatherings

The Moravian Revival of 1727 and 100 years of prayer
http://www.zinzendorf.com/countz.htm

On Wednesday 17 August 1727 the Moravian colony in Germany was overwhelmed and filled with the Spirit at their communion service. The entire congregation felt a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, and felt their previous differences swept away. Their leader, 27 year old Count Nicholas Zinzendorf, said it was like being in heaven. That month they began a continuous prayer meeting called the Hourly Intercession with people praying in teams for an hour at a time day and night. That non-stop prayer meeting went for 100 years. There followed an intense and powerful experience of renewal, often described as the "Moravian Pentecost." This experience began the Moravian renewal, and led to the beginning of the Protestant World Mission movement. Within 25 years they had sent out 200 missionaries, more than all the Protestants had done in two centuries.

The Layman's Prayer Revival, New York 1857-58 - By Oliver Price
http://www.openheaven.com/library/history/newyork.htm

In 1856 a Methodist names William Arthur published a book of fiery sermons which closed with a prayer pleading with God to "Crown this nineteenth century with a revival of pure and undefiled religion...greater than any demonstration of the Spirit ever vouchsafed to man." His prayer was answered when the greatest revival in American history began the next year.

In 1857 churches were sliding down hill. Thousands of Americans were disillusioned with Christianity. William Miller, a new England farmer, had captured nationwide attention with his prediction that Christ would return on October 22, 1844. When nothing happened, many abandoned their faith.

America's moral recovery began when Jeremiah Lanphier, a concerned layman, started a noon prayer meeting for New York businessmen. Only six people came to the first prayer meeting on September 23, 1857 on the third floor of the "Consistory" of the Old Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton Street. By spring daily prayer meetings sprang up in many locations and daily attendance grew to 10,000. America's greatest Spiritual awakening was under way. It was called the Layman's Prayer Revival because laymen led it.

During the Layman's Prayer Revival the owner of a hardware store in New York urged businessmen at the Fulton Street prayer meeting to always set a holy example. A well-known manufacturer followed him to his store and confessed that he had cheated him for years and wanted to pay it back.

When the news spread that there were daily prayer meetings where sinners were welcomed, prayed for, and encouraged to turn to Christ, some hardened criminals were saved. A notorious criminal nicknamed "Awful Gardiner" surprised everyone when he found christ through the prayer meetings. He was not alone.

Hundreds of people who had always spent their nights in the gates of hell came to the prayer meetings that had begun in the evenings. Thousands forsook crime and became devoted follows of Christ. Crime and vice drastically declined. Wealthy people generously helped the poor whom they regarded as their brothers and sisters.

Ships coming into New York harbor came under the power of God's presence. On one ship a captain and thirty men were converted to Christ before the ship docked. Four sailors knelt for prayer down in the depths of the battleship North Carolina anchored in the harbor. They began to sing and their ungodly shipmates came running down to make fun, but the power of God gripped them and they humbly knelt in repentance.

"Do you have to stop business at noon and go to a prayer meeting?" A customer from Albany asked a New York City merchant. "Yes, I must. Why don't you go with me?" The customer went with him and received Christ. He returned to Albany and started prayer meetings there.

In March of 1858 a religious journal reported that "The large cities and towns from Maine to California are sharing in this great and glorious work. There is hardly a village or town to be found where 'a special divine power' does not appear displayed."

In Chicago 2,000 men met at noon for prayer in Metropolitan Hall. In Jayne's Hall in Philadelphia 4,000 were meeting. An elderly philanthropist named John Crozer wrote in his diary, "I have never, I think, been present at a more stirring and edifying prayer meeting, the room quite full, and a divine influence seemed manifest. Many hearts melted, many souls devoutly engaged."

In December of 1857 in Utica, New York attendance at a weekly union prayer meeting increased so rapidly that by the third meeting the main floor and the balcony of the First Presbyterian Church were filled with deeply burdened people. Then daily prayer meetings were started each morning.

One night when Dr. John L. Giradeaux dismissed the prayer meeting for spiritual awakening at Anson Street Presbyterian Church in Charleston, South Carolina, no one left. The congregation stayed until midnight while the Lord powerfully worked. Eight weeks of nightly meetings followed reaching crowds numbering from 1,500 to 2,000. Many turned to the Lord.

The New York Observer published a report from Waco, Texas of a mighty moving of God. "Day and night the church has been crowded during the meeting... Never before in Texas have we seen a whole community so effectually under a religious influence ... thoroughly regenerated."

The power of prayer touched every aspect of business. There had never been a higher tone of honor. The Bible became the standard. Any business that injured the community was regarded as wrong. People in every kind of business began to be more honest, truthful and conscientious.

At least three thousand came to Christ in Newark, New Jersey. In many smaller towns scarcely any unconverted people remained. In Haverhill, Mass., the Spirit deeply moved the crowded daily prayer meeting. Sometimes half of the assembly silently wept. One pastor found at least one person in every home in his congregation deeply concerned about their relationship with God.

An unsaved man went to the prayer meetings on Fulton Street in New York hoping someone would help him. But none did. Then one day he heard a mother's request for her son's salvation. He discovered that note was from HIS OWN mother! Soon afterwards he found Christ. In Kalamazoo, Michigan a woman turned in a request for her husband's salvation. One man responded, "Pray for me. I'm that man." Four more men did likewise. A wealthy young New Yorker was born again at a noon prayer meeting. Upon returning home he read from the Bible and knelt to pour out a fervent prayer for his wife and sister. His wife and his sister knelt beside him and wept as they also received Christ. One man disowned his daughter when she confessed Christ. However, when he fell deathly sick, he sent for her and asked her forgiveness. She shared Christ with him. Within three days her father, mother, two brothers, and a sister entered the family of God.

Even Hell-Corner, New Hampshire was touched. It all started when one man's outrageous profanity led to a joking call for a prayer meeting. A notorious backslider tried to lead but he broke down while praying. The meetings continued under the leadership of a man from another town and four or five hardened men were convicted of sin and turned to Christ. Many in Hell-corner became praying people.

In March of 1858 the voice of prayer and praise to God was heard beginning at 8:30 every morning in the halls of the New York state capitol. Six people began a prayer meeting for the Legislature. By the fifth day tow rooms were filled and interest was growing.

In 1858 in Louisville, Kentucky 1,000 attended the daily union prayer. One writer exclaimed, "The spirit of God seems to be brooding over our city, and to have produced an unusual degree of tenderness and solemnity in all classes." An amazing work of grace was changing the city.

Some of the leading businessmen of Boston were attending prayer meetings. An unusual number of people who had lived wicked lives also came. One write said, "Publicans and sinners' are awakened, and are entering the prayer meetings of their own accord. Some of them manifest signs of sincere repentance."

(c) Oliver Price. All Rights Reserved.
Source: International Revival Network: www.openheaven.com.

More Information:

The agenda was simple: "the salvation of the soul." They would pray for the "souls" of family members, neighbors, and coworkers—by name. The meeting is begun at twelve o'clock precisely, and it closes exactly on the hour 1 PM. The room is full and crowded, and the interest appears to increase from day to day. All sects are here: the formal, stately Churchman and the impulsive Methodist who cannot suppress his groan and his "amen;" the sober, substantial Dutchman and the ardent Congregationalist, with all Yankee restlessness on his face; the Baptist and the Presbyterian, joining in the same chorus and bowing at the same altar.

Praying for others, often releases blessing on your own life

Job 42:10
And the LORD restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Ofcourse we do not pray for others, just because we want a blessing ourselves. We just want us to be aware that our own lives can be affected in a positive way, as we invest time and effort in praying for others.

APPLICATION
Pray for your own family.
Would you be able to commit to praying for other believers know to you, who need help, each week.
Would you be able to commit to praying for our pastors and leaders at APC
Pray for us as a local church that we will grow in the Word and the Spirit and fulfill God's call on us.
Get together with other believers in small groups at home, office, elsewhere and pray together.