“They all joined together constantly in prayer…” (Acts 1:14a).
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, time after time, God responds to the prayers of His people. On the evening after the dedication of the temple, God reminded Solomon, that when God’s people humbly pray and seek His will, He hears from heaven and answers their prayers (2 Chron. 7:14). God’s mission plan for Israel was to be a “light to the Gentiles,” a witness among all peoples on earth (Isa. 49:6). God’s temple was to be a “house of prayer for all nations” (56:7). Prayer was a vital link between God’s people and His mission.
Almost one thousand years later, Jesus condemned the temple managers for turning God’s temple from a house of prayer for the nations into a “den of thieves” (Mk. 11:17). The next day He debriefed His disciples on the importance of prayer for the kingdom: “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Mt. 21:22). In other words, do not forget that God answers the prayers of His faithful followers. Then Jesus re-instated God’s mission to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded” (28:19-20).
The disciples of the early Church understood this power of prayer. They “continued in one accord in prayer” (Acts 1:14). In times of crisis they prayed (Acts 6:4, 13:2-3; Mk. 9:29). In the middle of the mission, they prayed (Col. 4:2). And God answered. No wonder the gospel of Jesus Christ swept throughout the Roman Empire in such a short time. God’s people prayed for His mission and His missionaries. Why? Because they knew that God answers prayer. He did then . . . He does now.
Father, teach me to more fully understand the power of prayer! Fill me with a deep desire to focus on the things that are upon Your heart rather than what I want! Continually remind me that seeking You is more fulfilling and purposeful than any work I could ever do for You. May I faithfully intercede for the mission of Jesus, believing completely that You will hear and answer!
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry, Chapter 66 (Strategic Prayer for God’s Mission and Missionaries) by Mike Barnett. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
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Praise God, for he is long-suffering. Thank God for his willingness to suffer for you. Confess those times when you failed to do so, for those times when you lacked patience with God’s process. Commit yourself to being willing to suffer for his sake. Ask him for the ability to be long-suffering.
Ask for a patient, long-suffering attitude with family members or friends who may be especially irritating to you.
“Praising God is the secret of having increased blessings in your life.” —Don Gossett
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