Summary: This sermon is about some basics of prayer that we as Christians seem to have forgotten.
It happened only a few weeks ago. The normal time for prayer came in the service. I had asked for requests. Only one person raised their hand. And so I proceeded with the prayer itself. But the moment I was finished praying hands shot up all over the sanctuary.
It happens like that all the time. Not just at church but in our personal lives as well. And so I think it is important to point out so few of us take as part of life. But it is nothing more than an attack.
There is no where in the life of a Christian that Satan works harder or more diligently than in prayer.
There is a reason for this. Your daily Bible study alone cannot change the world. Your sitting in a Sunday school class each week can’t help your neighbor. My preaching on a given Sunday can’t bring me or you any closer to God. The songs you sing won’t bring you closer.
But prayer, now that’s different. Prayer is weapon. It can be used to thwart anything the devil is using. Prayer can change lives. Prayer can directly bring you and I closer to God. Prayer can affect a person you have never before met.
Maybe you think I’m fibbing a little. But look around you. We find every excuse that we can as to why we cannot to pray. The mid-week prayer meeting is at the wrong time or on the wrong day of the week. Our quiet times are rushed by the rest of the world and lack of time. Many families sit in front of the television instead of sitting together at a table for mealtimes where they can pray together.
So I thought that today I would share some key foundations of prayer. Some things that I think every Christian should be aware of when it comes to prayer.
The first thing that I think that we need to see is that with the early church prayer was part of being together. These people prayed in groups.
Take a look with me at Acts 1 beginning in verse 12.
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
We can see two things in this earliest form of the church.
The first thing I want you to see is that they were all together. Everyone prayed together. There was no separation between the men and the women. There isn’t even a separation inside the early church based on prior arguments. They were all in the room. Look at the verses again. Peter? Yep. He’s there. John? He’s praying too. James and Andrew. Yes, they’re there too. Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, the other James, and Simon? They’re all praying too. Jesus’ brothers are among them. The women are around. Mary, Jesus’ own mother, is in this group.
The whole church met to pray. Everyone is included. They didn’t pray by themselves. All of them were present. We see this time and again throughout the rest of the New Testament. In fact, the time will come when that as the apostles travel when they come to a new city or town they start by looking for places of prayer. They don’t call them churches, sometimes. Instead they will refer to churches as places of prayer.
We need to be learning from this. As Christians we need to be praying together. So often we get that call in the middle of the week. The one that tells us that someone is in need of prayer and instead of praying together right then, we hang up the phone and pray by ourselves.
No! That’s not what we need to be doing. We need to be praying together. It doesn’t take that long. Just a few minutes of our time. We need to be taking the time.
The second thing I want you to see is in verse 14. Note the words, “constantly in prayer.” The Good News version says they were to gather for a “specific purpose.” They were gathered to pray.
They didn’t just pray. They prayed continuously. They prayed fervently. They wanted something and so they prayed together and they prayed with everything they had in them. They were going to pray for as long as it took.
Boy, that’s a hard idea to think about, isn’t it? We don’t do that in our society today. We don’t have time. Do we? Look around at all the things that draw your attention on a daily basis. We have better things to do. Or at least we think we do.