Jesus gave His disciples vision and passion. He also gave them an impossible task: to make disciples of all the nations. They were commissioned to win the world. But Jesus warned them, “Behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
And the disciples did stay in Jerusalem. They waited and prayed. Why did Jesus want them to remain in Jerusalem with such a great ahead of them? There was a world that desperately needed the gospel. Why should they wait in prayer?
I believe there are three reasons that Jesus established prayer as a priority for the early church. First, their vision and passion for a world could only be maintained by prayer. As they spent time with the Father in prayer, they would feel what He felt and see what He saw.
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The two prerequisites to successful Christian living are vision and passion, both of which are born in and maintained by prayer. The ministry of preaching is opened to few; the ministry of prayer—the highest ministry of all human offices—is open to all.”
Second, not only is vision maintained by prayer, but hearts are prepared to receive the message of Christ through prayer. The gospel is eternal and spiritual in nature. Therefore, we must pray that spiritual eyes be opened.
Third, God will not only open hearts to the gospel, but He will also empower the proclaimer of the message of Christ. There is a radical difference in the pre-Pentecost and post-Pentecost lives of the disciples. Peter, the cowardly denier of Jesus, became the bold preacher of Jesus. A new sense of courage characterized the early Christians in Acts. We must realize, however, that their boldness was the fruit of their prayer lives.
Precious Holy Spirit, You give vision and passion to those who long to seek God in prayer for the sake of and advancement of the kingdom through the preaching of the gospel. Thank You that You trust me with the “highest ministry of all human offices” – the ministry of prayer, and may I be courageous and bold as I intercede, so that spiritual eyes are opened and hearts are prepared to hear and the good news of Jesus Christ and respond to His love.
Praise God that your sighing is not hidden from him (Ps. 38:9). Give thanks that you can cast all your care on him because he cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). Confess to God the many times you worry, are fearful, or trust in something other than God (Ps. 37:5-6). Commit yourself to daily food from God’s Word and time with him in prayer. Ask God for victorious faith that overcomes the world (1 Jn. 5:4).
Pray that your church will be living proof of the fact that God fulfills the desires of those who fear him (Ps. 145:19).
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