Continue in Prayer
The Bible says in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Someone said to D. L. Moody that he didn’t know how to pray. Moody said, “Just call Him Father, and ask Him for something.” Dr. John Rice's book is entitled, “Prayer, Asking and Receiving.” The Bible says in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” So prayer is a cure for worry. If you don't pray about everything, chances are you will worry about everything. If you pray, you will experience the peace of God.
The text tells us how the first Christians lived. They continued steadfastly…in prayer. Continuous, child-like, fervent, believing prayer was the practice of first-generation Christianity. They prayed on the street, in their homes, in jail, and in the Temple at the hour of prayer.
They prayed for their persecutors.
They prayed for all men, especially for the household of faith.
They prayed for governors and all in authority.
They prayed that the gospel might have free course and be glorified.
They prayed for one another.
They prayed that Christ’s Kingdom would come and that His will should be done on earth as in heaven.
They prayed with thanksgiving.
They prayed with strong crying and tears.
They prayed in humble submission to God's will.
They prayed in the Spirit, coming boldly to the throne of grace to claim God's promises.
They prayed, nothing doubting, secure in the confidence that whatsoever they asked in the Name of Jesus would be given them.
When Peter was in prison, the church prayed through the night for him, and an angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and set him free. When Peter was praying at midday, God gave him a vision of a sheet let down from heaven with all manner of creatures, and as a result, he went to Caesarea and the Spirit fell on the Gentiles.
When Peter and John went to the Temple at the hour of prayer, they encountered a lame man from birth and said to him, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6).
The early church was born in a prayer meeting that lasted 10 days. Then, on the day of Pentecost the Spirit descended, and tongues of fire sat upon each of them. Those early Christians continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and prayers. The result was that with great power they gave witness of the resurrection and great grace was upon them all, and the Lord worked with them confirming the Word with signs and wonders and gifts of the Holy Ghost. “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:20).
You cannot legitimately call yourself a Christian unless you believe in God Almighty and in Jesus Christ in the Redeemer, and in the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, in an inspired Bible, and in redemption the Cross, and in the literal resurrection and a glorious heaven. Also you must follow after holiness, or without it no man shall see the Lord. To all of that, we add this essential—prayer!
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). “…he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
No more can a bird fly without wings, than a Christian can live without prayer.
Prayer is conversation with God.
Prayer puts God into the picture.
Prayer taps the resources of Heaven.
Prayer moves mountains.
Prayer links you with Omnipotence.
When Paul and Silas prayed at Philippi, their bands were loosed and the prison doors opened and the jailer was converted. James 4:2 tells us, “…ye have not, because ye ask not.”
Do you pray? Have you given up praying because nothing has happened? Is your church a place of prayer? The early Christians continued steadfastly in prayer. That was why the church of that day was terrible as an army with banners. That is why the sick were healed and the dead raised and the poor had the gospel preached unto of them. Even with no pandemic, many churches today no longer have prayer meeting. Prayer rooms are no longer part of church architecture. The upper room has given way to the supper room. The inner chamber of prayer has a “For Rent” sign on the door. Weeping between the porch and the altar has been replaced by coffee in the vestibule and celebrities in the sanctuary. And our dry eyes betray the lukewarmness of our souls. The mourners bench has been relegated to the history books.
Small wonder that churches are closing for want of attenders.
Small wonder that the masses scarcely give the church a nod as they pass by.
The early church continued steadfastly in prayer. And God, the living God, a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God, heard them from His throne in the heavens. A praying church walked and lived in the power of the risen Christ. The 21st Century church has tried entertainment, recreation, counselling, dramatics, book reviews, advertising blitzes, and clinical psychology. Perhaps it's time to have more than “a brief word of prayer.” Perhaps it is time to “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).