“They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.”
Acts 1:14 (New Living Testament)
God invites, but never compels his people to join him in honoring his name and in carrying out his purposes. We send our R.S.V.P. to the Father’s invitation by praying daily, as the Christians of the first century did.
The earliest disciples didn’t fuss over strategies, their knowledge of the Old Testament, sermons, or the right kind of hymnal. Rather, after praying, they caught the fire of Pentecost (Acts 2), pushed outward, and literally changed the history of the world.
Luke’s first volume, his Gospel, climaxes with the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and the praying and rejoicing of the disciples (24:52f) His second volume, Acts of the Apostles, opens with the picture of the disciples “constantly devoting themselves to prayer” (1:14).
Before the disciples appointed someone to replace Judas, they prayed (Acts 1:24). Before choosing the Seven for the work of hospitality, they prayed (Acts 6:6). Stephen, the first Stephen Minister, prayed that the sins of those who were stoning him to death would be forgiven (Acts 7:59f).
Daily prayer for God’s work, as well as for our own needs, does not require a special vocabulary of deep understanding of the Bible. But it does require a willingness to engage the whole person with God, and such an engagement, you will find out, is really what is meant by worship.
If it’s not your habit to pray each day, consider purchasing a collection of prayers for daily use.. A prayer after all, is a prayer is a prayer. Or, ask someone in the church to write out for you simple prayers that show praise, adoration, and gratitude to God, and that express your desire for the furtherance of his work in your life, in your family, in our church, and throughout the world.
Years ago, my wife and I adopted the principle of Hudson Taylor, the founder of the old China Inland Mission, on the practice of prayer: “We must learn,” he said, “to move men through God by prayer alone.” That still holds. It advances the gospel and builds up the church. But most importantly, it honors God.
Written by Jim Mignard, a friend of Dr. Doug Hood