Every Church A House of Prayer - Part 2
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
The first church in history was launched in Jerusalem by the first disciples of Jesus. It was wildly successful, with 3,000 baptized the first day after the first sermon! (Acts 2:41). Plus they had people saved everyday (Acts 2:47).
What was the secret of their success?
In part, the answer is that they were a powerful house of prayer. If we want what they had, we need to do what they did. So what made them a dynamic house of prayer?
Four Lessons from the Prayer Culture of the First Church
1. They Prioritized Prayed BeforeDoing Anything Else
Acts 1 came before Acts 2. For seven days the disciples focused everything entirely on prayer before doing anything else(Acts 1:12-14). They spent a week in intense prayer awaiting the empowering of the Holy Spirit. They prayed before attempting to preach the gospel and plant a church.
And it was worth it.
Those seven days of intense prayer led to the coming of the Holy Spirit as flames of fire over the heads of the apostles and the explosive birth of the church as 3,000 were baptized! (Acts 2:41). If we want what they had, we need to do what they did.
For them prayer was the first priority. For us, too often prayer is the last resort.
2. They Prayed Together
All these were continually united… Acts 1:14
When we read the book of Acts we see that the primary pattern of prayer they established was corporateprayer. United prayer birthed the church (1:14; 2:1). Corporate prayer was their method of dealing with problems, pressure, and persecution (4:24-31). Praying together was modeled by the apostolic leadership team (6:4). Earnest united prayer by the church miraculously freed Peter from prison and execution (12:5-12). United prayer was the means by which leaders received divine instruction and ministry direction (13:1-2).
In the U.S. we are so individualistic that the focus is on solitary quiet time instead of corporate prayer times. We need both.
3. The Prayer Ministry of the Church was led by the top leadersof the Church
When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14All these were continually united in prayer…Acts 1:13-14
Note those in active attendance at the first prayer meeting of the first church. It is a who’s who of first century Christian leaders– Peter, James, John, and Andrew.
Any pastor who hopes to experience the blessings of God will not delegate the leadership of the prayer ministry to others.
4. They DevotedThemselves to Prayer
And they devoted themselvesto the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers.Acts 2:42 bolding added The first church was a church on fire because it was a church on its knees. Prayer was built into the DNA of the first church. It was a priority, a practice, a lifestyle, a habit, and a passion.
It is impossible to read the book of Acts without repeatedly running into prayer, as prayer is mentioned thirteen times in the first fourteen chapters (see Acts 1:14-15; 2:42; 3:1: 4:25-31; 6:4,6: 9:40; 10:2,4,31; 11:5; 13:2-3; 14:23).
They lived lives devoted to the prayers. As Jewish converts, they practiced the three times a day of corporate prayer the Jews modelled.
For them prayer was not a side issue, a peripheral program – no. Prayer was the core of their DNA.
If we want that they had we need to do what they did.