Summary: True Christians or real followers of Christ never turn back from their call and commitment to Christ and His missionary work, even there are threats and persecutions in their ministry.
Acts 4: 23-31 Reactions of the Disciples
4: 23-24a Prayers in Persecution
4: 24b-30 Prayers with Scripture
4: 31 Prayers and the Spirit of God
Acts 4:23-26 Prayers Increased
True Christians or real followers of Christ never turn back from their call and commitment to Christ and His missionary work, even there are threats and persecutions in their ministry. Because their hopes are in Christ, and their thirst for soul makes them keep bounding for God. The historical pages of Christian history have full of bloodstains of the saints who stood for the Gospel and its proclamation. So, persecutions and threats can never stop the mission activities of God on the earth. The kings and rulers may disappear, and their kingdoms will vanish, but the Kingdom of God built on the hearts of the people, stands for generations, in fact, till the return of the Lord. Apostles, soon after their release, reported what had happened to them, then all of them had raised their voices together in prayer. Praises strengthen our faith, love, and hope in God. Sufferings in the lives of the saints had always ended with thanksgiving, though they started with complaints and prayers.
Acts 4: 24b-30 Prayers and Scriptures
The believers in the early church had referred to the Word of God in their prayers. They acknowledged the creatorship of God. When the human authorities threatened and persecuted, they immediately diverted their attention to God and claimed the power of God over the rulers and kings. Their prayers had affirmed the prophecy of God revealed through prophets. Their relief had come from the Word of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We notice that they mentioned the names of Herod and Pontius Pilate and their teamwork against God. Their prayers had given all due honor to God and respect to God. No human can take any credit. Whatever happened to Jesus and the apostles were as per the perfect Plan and Will of God. We comprehend that the early church had understood that nothing happens apart from God, and the stratagem of rulers had not succeeded. Further, they had gone forward in their missionary works. They pleaded God to give them boldness to preach the Word, perform miracles, signs, and wonders.
Acts 4: 31 Prayers and the Spirit of God
It is surprising to read that they boldly spoke the Word of God after the persecutions and threats. They were not afraid of life threats. They filled with the Holy Spirit. Their meeting place had a vibration. It denotes the presence of God and their feelings and experience of the moving of the Holy Spirit. The houses nearby the Airports usually get the shakes whenever a loaded international flight lands at the Port. Similarly, the powerful descending of the Spirit of God upon the believers had expressed with these words. Of course, the OT and NT have several examples of places shaken whenever the Angels or the presence of God had come to their camps. The constant in touch with God through prayer confirms the continual presence of God and the outpouring of the Spirit. The prayers offered with one accord and unison leads to bold preaching and advancement in Mission.
1. How do we react to the opposition/persecutions and threats?
2. Why do we need to use the scriptural references in prayers?
3. Cite a few examples from the scripture on the descending power of God and its consequences.
4. Share one thing which you have observed and going to practice.
(please refer the series on the Acts of the Apostles for further studies)