“When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God.” (Acts 4:23-24 ESV)
These are the early days of the church. Exciting things are happening. God has shown up in power. Thousands have come to faith in Jesus. Miracles have happened. But now, Peter and John, two of the main leaders of the fledgling church, have been arrested, threatened, and now released. The situation is volatile. If the church doesn’t toe the line, perhaps more executions could take place. After all, the people in power did not hesitate to execute Jesus. Would His followers be next?
In this dire situation, Peter and John report back to the church. What did the church do? “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God.” This is what the people of God do in dire circumstances. They pray. They pray together. They lift their voices in prayer to God. They don’t plan, brainstorm, network, or make calls. At least, they don’t immediately respond in these ways. How do they respond? They pray. They access omnipotence. They go right to the top. That’s the first response, the immediate response, and the instinctive response.
God uses churches that pray. God uses churches that pray together. God uses churches that pray together as their first response. A.C. Dixon wrote: “When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; when we rely upon education, we get what education can do; when we rely upon eloquence, we get what eloquence can do, and so on. Nor am I disposed to undervalue any of these things in their proper place. But when we rely upon prayer, we get what God can do.”
What kind of people give themselves to prayer like the early church did?
1. The kind of people who are desperate for God.
2. The kind of people who are hungry for God.
3. The kind of people who want more of God.
4. The kind of people who long to be intimates of God.
5. The kind of people who recognize how much they need God.
6. The kind of people who understand that prayer is the real work for God.
7. The kind of people who understand that prayer is the greatest privilege in life.
8. The kind of people who see the unseen spiritual battle that is raging.
9. The kind of people who long to see God do a mighty work.
Are you one of those people?