“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:1).
The early Church fueled its missions outreach by prayer, beginning with a ten-day prayer meeting and confession time in the Upper Room that brought the fire of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Peter preached and thousands were saved (Acts 2:1-41). The disciples continued to pray and daily people were added to the church (2:47). In Acts 4:23-31, Luke records a corporate prayer of the early believers where “the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” There’s the success equation: People pray—the Holy Spirit comes—powerful outreach ensues. The U.S. Center for World Missions estimates that prayer-propelled missions in the early Church brought the ratio of unbelievers-to-professing Christians to 360:1 by the year 100 A.D.
Due to the incredible potency of prayer-fueled missions, the ratio of unbelievers-to-professing Christians has fallen all the way from 360:1 in 100 A.D. to 2:1 today! Over two billion people profess faith in Jesus Christ; an additional two billion have heard the gospel message; and a final two billion have yet to hear. If we’re faithful to the Lord of the harvest, and take His words seriously to “go on our knees and pray for harvest hands,” then the 21st century just might see the evangelization of the world in this generation. Let’s complete the task—through giving ourselves to prayer.
Almighty God, how far Your people have drifted from the bold, Holy Spirit infused prayers of the believers in the early Church! And yet, they were brand new believers! Forgive me and those like me who doubt that our prayers carry the same kind of weight as those men and women who gathered to ask for courage in the face of persecution. Plant a new passion within me so that I willingly fall to my knees on behalf of those who have yet to hear! May Your kingdom come fully in this generation! Come, Lord Jesus!
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry, Chapter 65 (Prayer and Missionary Movements) by Ron Boehme. 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 his righteousness. Thank him for the consequences of sin which move you to repentance at the foot of the cross. Confess times of anger when you felt God was not fair. Commit to accepting your circumstances as God’s justice at work which shapes his world. Ask God to help you see his righteous acts as acts of love, designed for you.
Pray for the judges in our courtrooms. Ask that their ability to discern truth will be strong and their wisdom to deal fairly with offenders will be of God.
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