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Acts Devotionals

Reasons for Prayer

What do you do when you face hardship and trial? When you require wisdom and guidance, what do you do? May I suggest … you pray! The first time we find prayer mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis:

Gen 4:26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.

Since then, as an act of worship, praise, trust and request, man has been praying. I would think the prime example of prayer for strength, energy, wisdom, discernment and help to accomplish everything that Jesus needed to do was His dependence upon His Father. Remember He was building a Kingdom … and He left His chosen apostles to spearhead what He started … building His Kingdom. The last time Jesus prayed before His wicked trial, his disciples could not pray for one hour. They slept!

Mk 14:37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Now that Jesus has returned to heaven they understood they needed help as He needed help whilst in the flesh. So Luke pens:

Ac 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

1) They obeyed the Lord Jesus.

Ac 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. Remember that Jesus told them to remain in Jerusalem

Ac 1:4 he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”

After the angels spoke to them they returned to the Capital City in obedience to wait for the gift promised.

2) They returned “home”. At least, this was what we call the “upper room”, likely a hired facility. It was a temporal home whilst in Jerusalem.

Ac 1:13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying.

3) They were a full compliment.

Ac 1:13 Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.

Although they were still called the “Twelve”, minus Judas Iscariot, they were eleven in number.

4) They joined together in prayer.

Ac 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer

As implied above, at last they caught the need for prayer and not sleep. This is phenomenal …

(1) They all joined together constantly in prayer. There were no absentees! The full complement were in prayer.

(2) They all joined together constantly in prayer. They were not just all present in the prayer meeting, they all joined in praying.

(3) They all joined together constantly in prayer. “Constantly” shapes the prayer meeting. They did not excuse themselves or nod off to sleep. For as long as the prayer meeting lasted they were in prayer.

5) They were supported by others.

Ac 1:14 along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

The “women” refers to the ladies who moved around with Jesus to meet His and mostly likely His apostles’ needs … such as making food and washing clothing … and possibly arranging shelters, buying the food, etc. His mother (Mary) was present. Remember she was at the Cross and Jesus handed the responsibility of caring for her to John who was a young man. Then present were His brothers. What is so exciting … they believed! All of the Gospel records something similar to Mark:

Mk 3:31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

This was early in His ministry and they were concerned about His heavy work load and they thought He neglected himself. They were worried … and unconverted.

1 Cor 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The natural man cannot discern the things of the Spirit! They had no real understanding of whom Jesus was … yet at some stage, towards the end of His ministry, death and resurrection and Him revealing Himself, they came to faith … they believed. Now they were supporting the apostles in praying to God … Jehovah Jesus!

(a) What was the reason for praying and for praying constantly? There are a few main ones …

(i) Protection from the Roman and Jewish leaders. Remember they were in Jerusalem where Jesus was arrested and executed. The Jewish leaders in particular were aggressive towards Jesus’ Cause because it was competition as it exposed their religious weaknesses. We also need protection from those who are enemies of the faith.

(ii) Personal encouragement to be faithful. Flowing from the first issue, they knew they needed help to be faithful to Jesus. So do we, so we pray to be faithful and true!

(iii) Persistent need to wait for the coming Gift. With marching orders to reach the world could easily pressure them to run ahead of themselves. Patience was needed and only God could instill this. This applies to us as well. At times we become so excited about a ministry and want to zoom into action … but we need to be patient. God will impress the right time upon our hearts.

(iv) Power to trust God totally. Trusting God is not always easy. We might say it is but in reality it is not. Without “trust” all the above will fail.

(b) Our Lord Jesus knew what lay ahead of Him, He prayed … yes He was God incarnate … He was the Godman … yet He needed to pray to Father. They needed to because although what lay before them was great blessings, they needed help to control their ministry and more especially their attitudes.

(c) We see here the corporate aspect of prayer. This was the core group of believers together in prayer. It is fundamental that believers gather for corporate prayer … its then that things happen! Father, forgive us for our prayerlessness. So often we are like the apostles were … sleepy and reluctant when it comes to prayer.

Lord we find every possible excuse not to pray. Instill within us a mindset that without prayer we are powerless. Amen.

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