Tapping into the Power Source: Prayer

Tapping into the Power Source: Prayer

Brian NixonBy Brian Nixon5 Minutes

Part One –

The earliest Christian believers huddled together in Jerusalem, listened to the apostles, and talked to God in prayer. There were a lot of things missing from that first church. They lacked charters, committees, strategies, and church buildings (things some would consider vital for church health). But one thing they had was power. Why? Because they learned to tap into the source of power through prayer. In this article, we take Pastor Skip’s teaching, Tapping into the Power Source, to examine the prayer life of the early church.

To get the most from this article, read Acts 2 and 4.  At the end of this article, there are questions for you to ponder.

The Disciples Prayed Regularly (Acts 2: 42)

Many great people of faith have stressed the importance of prayer. Martin Luther said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” EM Bounds stated, “God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.” Yet for many, prayer conjures boredom or anxiety. But think of this: prayer is not meant to elevate anxiety, but to alleviate anxiety; it’s the key to joy (Philippians 4:6-7).

In Acts 2 we find the early church prayed regularly, not just on special days, but always. Jesus set the pattern of prayer-in word and deed, and the disciples followed.  Variations of the word prayer occur over 370 times in the Bible; it’s an important topic. In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he said to “pray without ceasing” (v. 5). This means constantly recurring, not constantly occurring.

Pastor Skip’s point?  Make prayer a regular part of your everyday life.

They Prayed Customarily (Acts 2: 42)

The early Christians prayed customarily, meaning they participated in the life of temple prayers. In Acts 2, the word for “prayer” is literally “the prayers,” plural; it was a reference to a known, practiced manner of praying.  As an example, Paul worshiped in the temple, as was his “custom.”  The early church saw the old prayers of the Bible through new eyes: they were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Both personal and public prayers were part of the Christian life in the early church.

They Prayed Instinctively (Acts 2: 42)

The first thing the early church turned to was prayer; it wasn’t an after thought. It wasn’t like they said, “We’ve tried everything else; now all we have is prayer.” No, prayer was the beginning. Likewise, it should be the first thing Christians turn to today. It’s as Corrie ten Boom asked, “Is prayer your steering wheel or you spare tire?”

Prayer Was Honest (Acts 4: 24-31)

Looking to an actual prayer Christians gave in Acts 4, we find that prayer had several characteristics. The first is that it was honest. There was nothing pretentious about the the prayer; they were real and relevant to their lives. In a similar manner, if you look at the Psalms one thing is clear: they are honest declarations, lives poured out in prayer. The point? Be honest and open before God.

Now some questions for you to ponder as you think about prayer:

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Because God is a personal God, communication is imperative to a personal relationship with a living and loving God. Prayer at its core is us conversing with the Creator, bringing our affairs, our adoration, and alignment to His will into view. Using the following verses concerning prayer, what does prayer tell you about our great God?

Moses’ prayer (Exodus 32:9-14)
Hezekiah’s prayer (2 Kings 19:14)
David’s prayer of confession (Psalm 51)
David’s prayer of surrender (Psalm 139)
Nehemiah’s prayer (Nehemiah 1:1-2:9)
The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15)
Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)
Jesus’ prayer for His people (John 17)

This article first appeared in Assist News Service. Used with permission. Learn more at assistnews.net.