Part Two –
One thing the early Church had was power. Why? Because they learned to tap into the source of power through prayer. In part two of this article, we take Pastor Skip’s teaching to examine the prayer life of the early church.
To get the most from this article, read Acts 2 and 4.
Prayer Had Perspective (Acts 4: 24-31)
As Acts 4 shows, the prayers had an address; the pray-er knew Who they were praying to. Likewise, when we pray, we should realize who we’re talking to, the Autocrat of the Universe, the Sovereign Lord (Jeremiah 32:17). Like directions to a place, knowing who we pray to provides perspective, an address for us to address our prayers.
We often like to limit God, but our concept of God is, like J.B. Phillips reminds us, “too small”; our view of God is not big enough. So here’s a tip: When in trouble, when overwhelmed, let your inability be overwhelmed by God’s ability. Find texts in the Bible that describe God’s majesty and control, and prayer these promises.
Prayer mixed with Scripture provides great perspective.
Prayer Was Balanced (Acts 4: 24-31)
The early church prayers combined an assortment of elements: petition, adoration, confession, thanksgiving–even history. This tells us the prayers were balanced. They didn’t stress one element over the other. Like the model prayer given by Jesus (Matthew 6: 9-13), the pattern of prayer in the early church kept a balanced perspective on our spiritual and physical needs.
Prayer Was Specific (Acts 4: 24-31)
The prayers of the early church were not vague; the disciples prayed for specific things; the prayer got to the point. Here’s something to ponder: God doesn’t need more information; He wants specific prayers, where He will provide specific answers. The outcome may be an answered prayer, or maybe a “no” or “wait.” But God answers prayers according to His will. So don’t try to impress God with words; rather, worship Him through prayer, aligning His will to your will.
Prayer Had Results (Acts 4: 24-31)
In Acts 4 we find that God answered honest, balanced and specific prayers in two ways: physical (the place was “shaken”), and practical (they disciples received “boldness”). Please notice the phrase in verse 24, “they prayed.” There was corporate prayer by many people. The principle? There is power in God’s people praying together; prayer turns the power on for the people of God.
Remember: the key to prayer is not the length of the prayer, but to Whom it is addressed. As Max Lucado reminds us, “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
Pastor Skip defines prayer simply: prayer voices our dependence on God and God likes it.
To give the most to prayer, Pastor Skip recommended the following:
- Pray simply
- Read scripture while you pray
- Start a prayer journal to document your specific prayers
- Pray in real time: as you greet someone, as you talk with someone; don’t just wait to pray; pray then and there.
- Find a prayer template that works for you. As an example, the Lord’s Prayer or ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication)
Think of a situation when a prayer was answered. When did you realize that God answered your prayer and what was your reaction? Describe the story leading up to the answered prayer to someone, using it as a took to tell others about Christ.
Now just don’t talk about prayer: pray for family, friends, the Church universal, and those in need. Give specific requests, with balance, making them real and relevant to the needs of our community, knowing that God will answer them according to His will.
Skip Heitzig is pastor of Calvary Albuquerque, which ministers to over 15,000 people every weekend. Skip reaches out to thousands across the nation and throughout the world through his multimedia ministry, which includes a TV broadcast and nationwide half-hour radio program, The Connection. Learn more at calvaryabq.org.
Brian Nixon is a writer, artist, musician, educator, and family man. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA), Veritas Seminary (MA), and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). Learn more at wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon
This article first appeared in Assist News Service. Used with permission. Learn more at assistnews.net.