The priority of spiritual awakening was so important that the Holy Spirit breathed on Luke to record His dealings with the early church. That first church was initiated and sustained by a prayer movement. The glory of God covered that early church.
Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. The first call upon the New Testament church was prayer. Intense praying resulted in the powerful proclamation of Christ. In Acts 1:14 the church is found seeking the face of God: “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.” In Acts 2:4–41 the church is empowered to proclaim the resurrection of Christ. Three thousand people were converted in this mighty visitation of God.
This incited the church to move forward in prayer. Acts 2:42 says, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The results were phenomenal. People came to know Christ daily. Peter and John are on their way to a prayer meeting in Acts 3, and five thousand are converted before they even arrive. The church continues to pray in Acts 4, which results in an even more powerful proclamation of the gospel. In Acts 5:14 they stop counting those who are being saved, simply stating, “All the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number.” This should be ample evidence of the relationship between prayer and the phenomenal growth of the New Testament church.
But we should also look at the apostle Paul. Paul’s ministry grew out of a prayer meeting. All of Europe and North America should be grateful for several humble men of prayer. The history of both continents would never be the same because of that prayer meeting, where a ministry was born that would ultimately shape much of Western civilization. The early church’s motto was “pray and proclaim.” It was said of them that they were “men who have upset the world” (Acts 17:6).
Lord Jesus, You grew Your Church through the prayers of Your people! As I consider the intensity and the depth of desire of men and women living only to worship You and to proclaim Your awesome Name, I recognize the lack of passion that often resides in my own heart. I don’t want to be on the outside looking in, but in the very middle of all You are doing! Teach me how to change the world as Your people did in the book of Acts, and may my prayers and my worship be continually pleasing to You.
–Adapted from The Prayer Factor: Adventures with a God Who Hears and Answers by Sammy Tippit. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
FREE RESOURCE: Scripture Prayer Guide for a Praying Church! This prayer guide is intended for any church that wants to become fully devoted to prayer. Click here to access this Guide.
Magnify the Lord and exalt his name. Give thanks for the privilege of corporate worship. Confess any irreverent use of his name or wrong use of his day. Commit yourself to worshiping in Spirit and truth. Ask for the fruit of the Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
Pray for wives who will have the God-honoring beauty described in 1 Peter 3, who will love their husbands as the church loves Christ, and who will develop their gifts and skills for the sake of family and kingdom.
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