“They devoted themselves…to prayer.” – Acts 2:42-47
“Teach us to pray,” the disciples asked Jesus. They had seen Jesus preach in front of multitudes. They had seen him heal the sick. They had even seen him raise the dead. They had watched him cast out demons. And they knew he had called them to be his disciples, to do what he did. But the only time we ever see the disciples directly request for Jesus to teach them something was when they asked him to teach them to pray.
They must have been aware that at the center of all the life and power that came into the world through Jesus, was their Master’s prayer life. Jesus often stole away to lonely places to commune with his Father. Prayer was Jesus’ lifeblood.
Prayer is our vital connection with God. If we are like cell phones, and God is like the outlet on the wall, then prayer is the charging cord. Prayer is what plugs us into the power and wisdom of God and enables us to image him to the world. “I am the vine,” Jesus said in John 15 “you are the branches.” How do we stay connected to the vine, receiving its nourishment and life? We must pray.
That is why whenever renewal and revival come into the church, it always begins with prayer and is sustained by prayer. Rev Dr. AT Pierson, who studied revival, writes this: “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” Revivals are all different, but every one began with prayer. In 1857, a great revival broke out in Manhattan. In a few months, over 10% of the city of New York came to faith and joined the church. This revival spread through the entire country. It began with one man in Manhattan, Jeremiah Lanphier, who was watching the decline of his church and sensed the need to pray. It was the same in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland in 1949, or in Uganda in the 1930s, or in Wales in 1904 and Los Angeles in 1906. All revivals begin with prayer. And all revivals are sustained by prayer.
And back to the early church at Pentecost. The lifeblood of the early church was prayer. Before the Spirit fell at Pentecost, they were gathered together in the upper room in Jerusalem. They were seeking God and praying and waiting. It is always upon a praying community that God sends his Spirit. And when the Spirit comes, the church devotes herself afresh to prayer. Lord, do it again, in our time, in this place. May we devote ourselves to prayer and find a fresh, new vital connection with you in our prayers.
- Consider joining us on Tuesday mornings @ 9am for our zoom prayer altar.
- Put Heart dates on your calendar and try to come.
- Find a prayer buddy. Someone you can open up and pray with on a weekly or bimonthly basis.
- Pay attention to the burdens and longings on your heart. Share these with others and pray for them with boldness.
Ask God to teach you to pray and to show you new ways to pray that cultivate greater love and intimacy for Jesus this year.
Ask God to refresh in you the spirit of prayer and a hunger to grow in prayer.
Ask God to give you and the church a greater boldness and urgency in prayer.
Ask God to launch praying communities in our church and other churches.
Ask God to bring prayer to the center of all our life and activities.
Ask God to raise the bar on the prayer rhythms and prayer practices of home churches.
Pray for our Altar Gatherings @ 9am