13 New Apostolic Christians and their life of faith

715 What do we mean when we talk about prayer?


Prayer is an opportunity given by God for human beings to enter into contact with Him. In prayer the believer experiences: God is present, God hears, and God answers. Thus the believing human being bows before God’s majesty and love in humbleness. The Holy Spirit provides inspiration for proper prayer.

716 Is praying necessary?


Praying is at times described as the “breathing of the soul”. This image serves to illustrate the necessity of prayer for the believer.

Faith without prayer is not a living faith. A prayer without faith is not a real prayer.

717 What references are there to prayer in the Old Testament?


There are many references to the worship of God in the Old Testament. The hymn of Moses serves as a good example: “For I proclaim the name of the Lord: ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32: 3-4).

The most important endeavour of the Psalms is to give thanks to God in prayer, and to bring Him praise and glory. The Old Testament also contains many references to prayers that implore the help and support of God.

718 What instructions did Jesus give concerning prayer?


In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave important instructions concerning prayer (cf. Matthew 6: 5-8). We are not to make an outward show of prayer nor are we to use a lot of words. We may address God as “Father”. Prayers should come from the heart.

In view of His return Jesus admonished: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21: 36).

719 What does the Bible relate about the prayer life of Jesus?

The gospels attest that Jesus often withdrew to pray. The gospel of Luke relates that Jesus made a special point of praying before decisive events, namely:

  • before the Holy Spirit descended upon Him (cf. Luke 3: 21, 22),
  • before He chose the twelve Apostles (cf. Luke 6: 12),
  • before the Father transfigured Him in the presence of witnesses from here and the beyond (cf. Luke 9: 28-36),
  • before His sufferings began (cf. Luke 22: 41-46),
  • before He died on the cross (cf. Luke 23: 46).


It is of note that Jesus already gave thanks before His prayer had been granted (cf. John 11: 41-42).

720 What is the “intercessory prayer”?


The “intercessory prayer” is recorded in John 17. This is the great prayer that Jesus prayed prior to His passion. Here He prayed for the Apostles and for the future congregation, and thus also for us: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one...” (John 17: 20, 21).

721 What do we know about the prayers of the early Christians?


The early Christians practised communal prayer: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1: 14).

Accounts of intensive prayers are also recorded in association with significant events, for example the choosing of Matthias as an Apostle or the ordination of the first seven Deacons.

The Apostles were also accompanied by the prayers of the congregation in situations of danger (cf. Acts 12: 1-12).


Deacons: see Question 470→

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  Acts 6: 4

722 How are we to pray?


Prayer is not bound to any outward form, nevertheless, the intensity of the prayer can be promoted by closing one’s eyes, folding one’s hands, or kneeling. The supplicant thereby withdraws from the busy activity of daily life to pause and bow before God in humbleness.


New Apostolic Christians begin and end their day with a prayer. They also pray before meals. They may also turn to God repeatedly in the course of the day in order to feel His nearness and seek His help.

In the family circle, parents pray with their children and thereby teach them to develop their own prayer life.

723 What is the content of a prayer?


The content of a prayer is defined by adoration and worship, thanks, petitions, and intercessions.

724 What is the source of adoration and worship?


The knowledge of the majesty of God prompts human beings to worship and adore Him: “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95: 6).

725 For what things do we express our thanks when we pray?


When praying, we give thanks for everything that has been given to us by the goodness of God: word, grace, and sacrament, as well the earthly gifts of sustenance, clothing, and accommodation.

726 What petitions do we bring before God?


We bring all our concerns to God in our petitions. These have to do with preservation in faith, angel protection, or help in daily life. The most significant petition is with regard to the imminent return of Christ and our longing to be accepted in grace at that moment.

727 Why do we intercede for others?


Intercessions are an expression of love for our neighbour. They are not limited to our own family or congregation, but can rather include all those who need God’s help, be it on earth or in the beyond.

728 What are the effects of prayer?


Prayer strengthens faith and trust in God, and provides the assurance of security in God. After praying, the supplicant is sure that all his concerns now lie in the hand of God: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37: 5).

729 What do we mean when we talk about the “willingness to offer and sacrifice”?


In general, the term “willingness to offer and sacrifice” refers to a person’s inner desire to use his gifts and talents for the benefit of others and even put his own interests aside for this purpose.

730 What do people generally mean when they talk about “offerings and sacrifices”?


In common language, “sacrifices” are gifts that are offered to God. They can also be understood as human deeds performed in service to others. Monetary gifts that are donated for religious purposes are likewise “sacrifices” in the religious sense.

731 How do we understand our sacrifices?


We understand our “sacrifices” to be the gifts and talents, time, and energy that are put to work in the service of God and His work.

Even the endeavour to refrain from doing something for the benefit of God’s work is a sacrifice.

Believers also feel the need to express their gratitude and love for God in concrete gifts (sacrifices), be it in the form of money or natural goods. According to Malachi 3: 10, we are to bring the “tithe” of our increase into the house of the Lord. The “tithe” can serve as a guide to the members in their offerings.

732 What was the significance of sacrifice in the old covenant?


Sacrifice was of great significance in the old covenant. Through their sacrifices, the people sought to express gratitude, turn away the punishment of God, or bring about reconciliation.

Sacrifices were brought in many different forms. The Mosaic Law specifically prescribed all the details of the sacrificial service (cf. Leviticus 1-7).


Old covenant: see explanation of Question 175→ Mosaic Law: see Questions 272→ et seq.