September 17, 2021
The book of Acts is a model for us of how Christ followers and the church are to function. There is one abundantly clear element throughout the book. They prayed.
Chapter 1. Prayed for the coming of the Spirit and power
Acts 1:14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. (Pentecost) and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit ... (2:4)
Chapter 2. Prayed as the foundation of the church, and the church grew
Acts 2:42, 47: They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer ... And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Chapter 3. Prayed corporately in a regular rhythm and people were healed
Acts 3:1,6: Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer … But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!”
Chapter 4. Prayed for boldness when they were persecuted
Acts 4:31: And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Chapter 6: Prioritized prayer when they had a ministry problem.
Acts 6:3-4: 6: Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” … And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. The Word of God kept on spreading and the number of disciples continued to increased greatly.
Chapter 7: Prayed when they were persecuted
Acts 7:55-56, 59-60: But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” … They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.
Chapter 8: Prayed for the power of the Spirit on others
Acts 8:11-16: Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
Chapter 9: Prayed for healing and help and direction
Chapter 9:11-12: “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Chapter 9. Prayed to resurrect the dead
Acts 9:40: But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
Chapter 10: Prayed to find God
Acts 10:1-5: Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually. About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in and said to him, “Cornelius!”
And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter.
Chapter 10: Prayed and God destroyed prejudice and gave ministry direction
Acts 10:9,11: On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray ... and he fell into a trance and saw the sky opened up ...
Chapter 12: Prayed to see someone delivered from bondage
Acts 12:5-7: So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.
Chapter 13: Prayed to select and appoint missionaries
Acts 13:2-4: While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit ...
Chapter 14: Prayed to select elders in every church
Acts 14:21-23: After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Chapter 15: Prayed when they were imprisoned
Acts 16:25-26: But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
Chapter 16: Received encouragement in prayer
Acts 16:9-10: And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”
Chapter 19: Prayed for the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Ephesians
Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.
Chapter 20: Prayed over the Ephesian elders.
Acts 20:36: When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.
Chapter 21: Praying as they said farewell
Acts 21:5: After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another.
Chapter 23: Prayed and received encouragement
Acts 23:10-11: And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks. But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”
Chapter 27: Gave thanks in prayer
Acts 27:34-35: “Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.
Chapter 28: Prayed for healing of a leader
Acts 28:8: And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.
Chapter 28: Thanked God in prayer
Acts 28:15: And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
Without question, the power of the church came from the frequency of their prayers. They prayed unceasingly. Will we?
October 13, 2021
October 12, 2021
It could not be worse. God is gracious in His offering of forgiveness through Jesus Christ to all who believe. Those who come to know God and obey Him will experience the best in this life and the life to come.
But what of all those who ignore God? Who will not trust Him? Who never follow and obey the one true God? The Bible leaves no ambiguity about this, and its clarity should sober us.
October 07, 2021
My son, who is planting a church in a Northern Colorado city, intentionally took me for a walk through a sculpture garden recently that is located in a prominent spot in his large city. It was beautiful, convenient, and filled with people.
To my amazement, at every 30 yards or so, there was a stone statue. The whole garden was a prayer garden, and each statue was named. The farther we walked, the more I realized it was a garden designed to help you pray to ancestral spirits. This religion is called animism and is no different from the false religions we read of in the Scripture. Paul encountered this in Athens.