Throughout the book of Acts, God uses prayer as a means to achieve His ends. In almost every case, prayer precedes powerful works. First, prayer precedes the filling of the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:3 is directly tied to the devoted prayer of the disciples in Acts 1:14. Luke intends his reader to make this connection. To make this even more clear, in Acts 8:15, Peter and John pray that the Samaritans would receive the Holy Spirit.
Prayer is hard for me. There are seasons in my life where I’m just not consistent. Life gets busy. Distractions abound. And my prayer life takes a hit.
I don’t think I’m alone. My suspicion is that many professing Christians today struggle with this. Interestingly, I don’t think the early church shared this challenge.
The Bible speaks a lot about prayer. In fact, there are about thirty references to prayer in the book of Acts alone. This is more than any other book in the New Testament.
The book of Acts provides a recorded history of the vital role prayer played in the lives of the disciples, who were completely dependent on God. In fact, prayer precedes almost every major event of the early church. Prayer precedes the filling of Holy Spirit, multiple healings, bold preaching, and comfort for persecuted believers.
If we want improve our prayer life, it might be helpful to look to the early church for direction.
Devotion to PrayerTim Barnett
From the inception of the church, the early Christians were devoted to prayer. It was the driving force behind all that they did. Immediately following Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, the eleven disciples returned to the upper room in Jerusalem. Luke records that the first activity of the disciples was to join together “devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). From the very beginning of the early church, prayer has been primary.
At the end of Peter’s famous sermon at Pentecost, there is a similar act of devotion to prayer by the new believers. Acts 2:42 records, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (emphasis added). The church had just grown from a little over 100 people to about 3000 people, and their first response was devotion to prayer.
The disciple’s devotion to prayer was both ongoing and central. In Acts 6, the disciples were given the task of appointing seven deacons to serve the widows. It was important for the disciples to delegate this work since they did not want to be distracted from their specific calling.