McGraw, Ryan M.
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In John 14:12–14, Jesus declares that His people would accomplish “greater works” than His. What are these greater works the church would accomplish, and how could they be even greater than Christ’s miracles? With biblical insight, author Ryan McGraw takes a closer look at this passage, along with the book of Acts, and explains that these greater works are connected to corporate prayer and faithful preaching, which are vital to the life of every local congregation. How Do Preaching and Corporate Prayer Work Together? affirms the priority of prayer and preaching in the church and offers practical instruction for effective corporate prayer that, by God’s grace, will bear fruit in preaching.
The Same Works and Greater Works
The Means of Accomplishing These Greater Things
RYAN M. MCGRAW is pastor of First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, California; research associate, University of the Free State; and adjunct professor of systematic theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
“I am often asked why there is such little growth and so few conversions in our Reformed churches. There are probably a number of reasons, but a primary one is our prayerlessness. It was said that Christ could not do many miracles in Nazareth because of the people’s unbelief (Mark 6:5–6). The Spirit is emphasizing the spiritual truth that ordinarily God does not work when people refuse to believe. Can there be any profounder expression of unbelief than prayerlessness in our churches? Increasingly rare is the Reformed church that has a meeting devoted to prayer, and rarer still the church’s prayer meeting that is well attended.
This booklet by Dr. McGraw, How Do Preaching and Corporate Prayer Work Together?,is a biblically grounded exhortation on the need for corporate prayer meetings in the church and why you should be involved if your church has one. It is my prayer that God will use this booklet to call many churches back to the practice of the corporate prayer meeting. If you share this desire, read this booklet and distribute it widely in your congregation.” — Joseph A. Pipa Jr., president, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”
Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often
have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.
For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.
The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.
We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He be pleased to do so again.
Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.
Ryan M. Mcgraw is pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also author or The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.