Discipleship | Lesson 9 | Devotion 4
Acts 4:31-35 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Prayer has become one of the most popular topics of the modern day church. Someone once said, “Prayer is preached the most and practiced the least in Christianity.” Looking at the world today and the current state of Christianity, it begs us to ask a question. Do we pray?
The success of the early church in the book of Acts was not built on personalities or popularity or even good ideas. The secret was their prayers. The word “prayed” is used seventeen times throughout the record of the early church. The term is used more in this book than any other book of the Bible. The whole book of Acts is the result of a church who prayed. One of the passages using the word “prayed” is the one you just read. Let’s look at three results of a church who prays:
There is power. Talk about power! According to verse thirty-one, the place was shaken! The church today needs to see this same power once again. The only source of strength that we have is found in the power of the Holy Ghost. Without the filling of the Spirit, we are mere men fighting a very powerful enemy. The Holy Spirit’s power only comes through prayer. What would this church look like with power of the Holy Spirit upon it? What would your family look like with the power of the Holy Spirit? What would your marriage look like? The truth is, we all operate outside of the Holy Spirit’s power so often that we never experience the transformation that comes with submitting ourselves and our lives to Him.
There is unity. Sometimes fellow Christians are hard to deal with. We get angry or bitter at someone who hurt us or who cheated us or wore the same Easter outfit as us. According to this passage, the result of prayer is that this church was of “one heart and one soul.” Let’s ask a question that will make us a little uncomfortable. When was the last time you prayed for the person who “offended” you? Did you pray for them before they “offended” you? Is this “offence” worth the Gospel not moving forward because of a lack of unity? These are very hard questions to ask, but they show if our hearts are in tune with other Christians and the work of God.
There is giving. The result of the power and the unity of this first church is that they became a very giving church. It is hard to be a blessing to someone that you are not unified with? The result of their prayer was that they began to see and meet the needs of others. Our prayer takes the focus off ourselves and places it on the needs of others. Many times, we are guilty of treating prayer as a wish list, and we can pray for our needs, but when was the last time you prayed for someone else’s needs? When was the last time you prayed for the requests of those in your class or your friends? This is called “intercessory prayer” and it is a beautiful picture of what Jesus Christ does with our needs. Intercessory prayer is the practice of taking the needs of another to God. Wow!
Does the church today need unprecedented power? You better believe it! Without the power of God, we will never see spiritual victory in our personal lives, our homes, our church, and even our country. Does the church need unity? Yes, we need to be able to stand with those we will spend eternity with unified in the mission that God has given us. Do we need to give of ourselves more than ever before? Of course, we need to do more because there is more to do. There are more people who need Jesus than ever before, there is more sin than ever before, there are more needs than ever before. So, if prayer gives us the results we need, we must return to that daunting question, “Do we pray?”