Get to the Prayer Meeting for Boldness in Speaking God’s Word

5 03 2010

The Prayer meeting modelled in Acts 4:23-31 is a gathering marked by characteristics we must learn to long for and incorporate into our own church prayer meetings.  We need the vitality, the unity and the perspective these Christians had in meeting for prayer as the people of God.  We need the Word-based, cross-centred, and service-oriented prayer focus which they had that results in the will of the Sovereign Lord increasingly being seen and done among his people.  As Sovereign LORD, God is maker of heaven and earth and the sea and everything in them – no wonder then their expectations are so high as they come to him in adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.

Notice four things that marked their prayer time:

1. They recognised and praised God because He is Sovereign LORD (adoration) (v24)
2. They acknowlegded God had revealed to them by his Word the sinful condition of men’s hearts (confession) (v25, 26)
3. They understood that God had provided redemption for his people in Christ Jesus through the cross (thanksgiving) (v28)
4. They were expectant of God because he alone empowers his people for service (supplication) (v29, 30)

The outcome of their prayer is also remarkable:

1. The place where they were was shaken…

Perhaps this in one thing we need from God: that we would be shaken at the place where we are now.  Shaken out of our meetings and church buildings; shaken out of our complacency and dereliction of duty; shaken to our core as we bow in awe and reverent fear before the Sovereign LORD, creator of heaven and earth; shaken out of our slumber to be witnessing, watchful and waiting for a coming Saviour.  Perhaps Isaiah’s commissioning to service was set in such a context of prayer when he saw the LORD high and lifted up, ruling in power and sovereign control, for the doorposts and the thresholds of the temple shook (Isaiah 6:1-11).  It was time to go out from the place where he had been.  Here am I, send me.

2. They were filled with the Holy Spirit…

Holy Spirit filling is a direct answer to the prayer of their hearts – specific prayer, specific answer.  In Acts 2:4 the ‘enabling’ of the Holy Spirit is clear and here again their cry for enabling (v29) is met in Holy Spirit empowerment (v31).  The disciples were under threat and facing severe opposition so this supernatural endowment of divine power was very much needed and sought.  Gladly, the Holy Spirit had previously been promised by their Lord and Master for just such an occasion as this – not for a gift of tongues as at Pentecost, but for a special enabling to speak (Lk 1:15, 41-45, 67; 21:12-15).  How quickly we forget or are perhaps afraid to ask specifically for the Holy Spirit’s filling that is available to those whose heart’s desires are consistent with God’s purposes (Lk 11:13).

3. They spoke the word of God boldly…

The reason for their boldness is not to be attributed to training, education, eloquence or religious tradition but rather it was as a result of their dependence upon God by His Spirit.  The spread of God’s word proclaimed in the power of God’s Spirit marks the subsequent growth of the church throughout the pages of Acts (Acts 4:31; 6:7; 8:4, 25; 12:24; 13:49; 15:35; 19:20).  Their confidence in God and his word is such that they are prepared to take God at his word. They recognise that it is just that – the word of God.  Not their word, not their message – God’s message.  They speak it out boldly in the sure conviction that his word will not return to him without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent it (Isaiah 55:10, 11).  God demonstrates that his word is true by the stretching out of his hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of his holy servant, Jesus.

May the Lord teach us to pray with this commitment and train us to preach and minister in this confidence.


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8 03 2010
John Thomson

Please keep writing blogs like this.

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