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.
–Adapted from The Prayer Factor by Sammy Tippitt
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 you are his temple (1 Cor. 3:16). Thank God for the work he’s given you to build up Christ’s body, the church (Eph. 4:16). Confess those times you do not honor God with your body, as he has purchased you with the price of his blood (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Commit yourself to Jesus’ cleansing of your total being (Jn. 13:8-10). Ask God to reveal to you daily the mystery of his glorious riches (Col. 1:26-27).
Pray that your family and friends will not dwell on outward beauty but on the unfading beauty of the inner self, a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Pet. 3:3-4).
“Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive him and keep him as your own.” —Mother Teresa
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend