The Lord’s house is to be a house of prayer for all nations.
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving...
This instruction comes to the congregation as a whole, and thus should describe the prayers of the community more than of any single individual. At the same time, a standard is indicated for individual believers in taking up the work of prayer.
Prayer is just that – work. It requires time, effort, and persistence. It may be difficult at times, but we must discover ways of doing continuing earnestly in it. Pastors should lead their churches into vigilance in prayer, to keeping watchful in all things and at all times in an attitude of prayer. In the work of evangelism, churches should pray for open doors of opportunity in their communities (v. 3). They must pray for one another, that the Lord would meet their needs (Rom. 12.12; Eph. 6.18). Such a work can only be accomplished in the Spirit, and thus we should expect it to be something beyond what we have ever known or asked before.
A church should be characterized by prayer, and this begins with the shepherds, cf. v. 12. If they are men of prayer, they will be inclined to encourage, equip, and lead their churches to be communities of prayer, so that, as the Body of Christ, churches maintain the kind of active and effective communion with the Lord which characterizes the communion enjoyed between the Persons of the Trinity.