Why do we feel a prayer meeting must always be a little side activity? Think of the prayer meetings that generated the mighty revivals in our nation’s history. Think of the “American Pentecost” of 1857-58 when the nation became a nation of prayer. Think of the famous Jayne’s Music Hall prayer meeting in Philadelphia where thousands gathered for prayer every noon, giving birth to revivals in churches all over that area. Think of the powerful prayer meetings which generated the movement of the Christian & Missionary Alliance.
Speaking on Acts 1:14, Dr. A. T. Pierson once said: “There never has been a revival but by such united supplicatory praying, and no revival has ever continued beyond the continuation of that same praying.”
Most churches are said to fail because they do not generate their own power. This is also true of the individual Christian. Prayer is the generator. The great London preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once took some people down to his Metropolitan Tabernacle basement to show them his “power plant.” There, on their knees, were about three hundred people praying for the service!
In Acts chapter 12 we see the Jerusalem church still praying at the same high upper-room level. Once again the battle is joined. Peter, their powerful leader, is to be executed. Why did they not call on just a few—the “prayer warriors, those in the church who really know how to pray and lay hold on God”? Because they all knew how! “Prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (verse 5, italics mine). There was an all-night prayer meeting in Mary’s house, where “many were gathered together praying” (verse 12). And Peter was delivered from prison and death by an angel!
That is not all. The angel also delivered Herod to death. But the prayer victory was even more far-reaching than that: “the word of God grew and multiplied” (verse 24). No wonder the golden-mouthed Chrysostom once said, “God can refuse nothing to a praying congregation!”
Father, I plead for a stronger prayer life and that my church would grow in the power and purpose of prayer! Teach me, Lord! Train me up to take my place as a watchman on the wall! Let my church be one that cries out to You for the sake of those who need to be delivered from death – physically and spiritually! I will trust You for this answer, knowing that it is already coming!
–Adapted from With One Accord in One Place: The Role of Prayer in the Early Church by Armin Gesswein. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise God for not leaving you “as orphans” but for giving another helper to be with you forever (Jn. 14:16, 18). Give thanks for God’s presence and power, and trust him to continue to energize you, keeping you on the right course. Confess the times you are dissatisfied or frustrated in your walk with the Lord. Commit yourself anew to God and let his Spirit help you in your weakness, especially in prayer (Rom. 8:26). Ask him to reveal himself to you today in a new and fresh way.
Pray that your family and friends will have the joy, peace, and stability that comes from knowing God personally and spending time daily with him (Col. 3:15-17).
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