Summary: A look at the prayers of the early church
Prayer I love the definition of prayer found in the Devils Dictionary, written by Ambrose Bierce around the turn of the century, you ready? To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy. I have no problem with that. We all believe in the power of prayer, don’t we? I mean each one of us knows not only the need for prayer but also recognize the power that is unleashed when God’s servants are on their knees.
The New Testament Church can be described many ways, but probably the key to all they were was prayer. Even before the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers the disciples not only acknowledged the necessity of prayer but they put it into power. In the book of Acts 1:14 Jesus has ascended into heaven leaving the eleven remaining disciples behind and what did they do, the bible says They all met together continually for prayer,
When the early church is described after Pentecost in Acts: 2:42-47 the description begins with these words, They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer.
In Acts 4 the church faces it’s first major crisis. The two major leaders of the church, Peter and John have been thrown into Jail for preaching the gospel, they are released after being ordered not to preach again. Although they didn’t quite promise to follow the order instead they asked a question, a question which we should each memorize and ask on a regular basis and it was found in Acts 4:19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? As soon as our two heroes are released they high tail it back to the other believers and called a prayer meeting. When Bonnie read this morning she read an account of that prayer meeting. This morning we are going to take a look at how the early church became a powerful church in bold prayer.
1) They Were Agreed in Prayer
24 Then all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer: The key word here of course is the word “United” When they started to pray they had obviously thought back to that incredibly powerful promise that Jesus had made to them in Matthew 18:19 “I also tell you this: If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. Now John & Peter must have figured that if two was good then a whole bunch must be better so they rushed back to the entire group and said hey guys and girls this is something that we need to pray about together.
It is critical that we are not only a church that prays but that we are a church that prays with unity. You think how confusing it must be for God when some churches pray. Like this group is praying for one thing and group “B” is praying for something that is diametrically opposed to group “A”. Meanwhile the group in the back is praying for something that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the situation..
One of the major criteria if a church is going to go somewhere is that they go there together. In reality a church is like a bunch of people who get together and charter a plane. If the people in the front want to go to Vancouver but the people in the back want to go to Dublin and the people over the wings want to go to Orlando who does the pilot listen to. The people who yell the loudest? The people who pay the most? The people who plead the most earnestly? It’s only when all the passengers get together and decide on a common destination that the plane can take off.
I am convinced that one of the major reasons that churches don’t grow is that they can’t figure out what they want God to do. If we are to succeed and become everything that God wants us to become then we are going to need some common goals and some common dreams and we are going to have to pray together, and not just physically. In the years ahead we need to make sure that whatever we do as a congregation, members and adherents, young and old, new comers and old timers that we have an God given goal and that we all pull together in that direction. It’s like being in a row boat, cause it’s really tough to row and rock at the same time. And we will need to pay in that direction as well. A powerful church will pray together.