Father, You are the God who dwells within me. Today, fill my life with the Spirit of Jesus.
Read Acts 1:12-26
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“When we are born again into God’s family, every Christian believer in the world is our brother or sister in Christ. This is the universal Church, but we must share in a local church’s worship, fellowship, and witness” (John Stott).
One of the challenges of living in a Western society is that of an attitude which says: “we have the resources, so we can do it.” Christians in less affluent parts of the world may more often know their need of God, and depend on him more fully.
After Jesus’ call to global witness, we immediately find the disciples adopting a posture from which every church must learn. The risen Lord had given an instruction and a promise: to wait for the sending of the Spirit (4,5,8). So “they all joined together constantly in prayer” (14). The words pack a punch for those whom self-sufficiency has made perilously independent of God and of fellow believers. “Together constantly in prayer”–here are three priorities for every Christian community. First, “Prayer” is saying, “I am dependent on God for everything.” It is a way of glorifying God because we are saying to him, “only you can do it.” Prayer is an appeal for God’s help based on his character and his promises. Second, “Together” describes these early Christians throughout the book of Acts, not least in their praying. Togetherness meant not simply a shared meeting place, but a unified sense of purpose (see Acts 4:24). Third, “constantly”–it was committed and persistent prayer, a sustained priority for the believers (The same word is used in Acts 2:42 and 6:4). The rest of this passage illustrates part of that commitment, as they prayed for the Lord’s guidance in one of their first strategic decisions (24). It was essential as they waited for the promised gift of the Spirit.
Here, then, are three simple priorities for today’s church: “Together constantly in prayer.” If we want to know more of God’s work by his Spirit, there is no other way than this.
Most references to prayer in Acts are corporate. In what ways can we strengthen this aspect of our spiritual lives?
Lord, I thank You for my local church. I praise You for the teaching I receive there, and all I learn about being an obedient and growing disciple of Yours.
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