Summary: 1st in the series "Patterns for Prayer." Studies the first 4 references to prayer in Acts to see how the church made prayer a way of life.
Text: Acts 1:14-24, 2:41-42, 3:1
Introduction Things looked bleak for the children of George Muller’s orphanage at Ashley Downs in 19th century England. It was time for breakfast, and there was no food. A small girl whose father was a close friend of Muller was visiting in the home. Muller took her hand and said, "Come and see what our Father will do." In the dining room, long tables were set with empty plates and empty mugs. Not only was there no food in the kitchen, but there was no money in the home’s account. Muller prayed, "Dear Father, we thank You for what You are going to give us to eat." Immediately, they heard a knock at the door. When they opened it, there stood the local baker. "Mr. Muller," he said, "I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow I felt you had no bread for breakfast, so I got up at 2 o’clock and baked fresh bread. Here it is." Muller thanked him and gave praise to God. Soon, a second knock was heard. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. He said he would like to give the children the milk so he could empty the cart and repair it.
We could spend hours recounting similar stories from the life of George Muller, in his own lifetime he was renowned as a man whose prayers could move mountains. He steadfastly refused to ever ask supporters for money declaring instead his intention to allow God to supply the needs of the four orphanages he ran only through prayer. When asked how much time he spent in prayer by some hoping to learn his secret, George Muller’s reply was, "Hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming."
George Muller would have been comfortable with the very first Christian believers who we read about today. The Bible says that "They all joined together constantly in prayer. In other words they made Prayer a Way of Life.
As I mentioned when I introduced this series on prayer, we are living in a time where prayer is very much on our minds. but if you’re like me you’re still learning about prayer--still struggling to understand what it means to Make Prayer a Way of Life.
So this morning I’d like to look at these first four references to prayer in the record of the church and see how these early believers made prayer a part of their daily life. As you look at these passages you may notice that the mention of prayer is almost in passing--a fact which I think further demonstrates that prayer was just a given in their lives.
But I see three specific times or circumstances here that give us a picture of how prayer was a part of their daily lives. Three examples of what it means to pray constantly. The first is at the end of Chapter one. Here we see that they prayed...
When Making Decisions
Acts 1:21- 26 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." 23So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
The great preacher and pastor of Chicago’s famous Moody Church, A.C. Dixon declared, "When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; when we rely upon education, we get what education can do; when we rely upon eloquence, we get what eloquence can do, and so on. Nor am I disposed to undervalue any of these things in their proper place, but when we rely upon prayer, we get what God can do."
Planning has its place, reason is required of us when facing decisions. We see that the church when they had a leadership role that needed to be filled took care to establish Godly standards, but ultimately they relied upon God because they knew they needed what God can do.
I’m not reccomending the method that they used, but we need to be aware that it was a method that was used throughout the Old testament for discerning God’s will.
Proverbs 16:33 says "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD."