Tuesday 30th June 2020
Verse for the week
Acts 2:42 - they devoted themselves to the
apostle's teaching and to fellowship, to the
breaking of bread and to PRAYER
Have you ever had a time when you are searching for something only to find it in the most obvious place, and often, right under your nose? The phrase that comes to mind is, “you can’t see the wood from the trees!” I have had that feeling this week as I have been continuing my reflections on the opening chapters of Acts and the formation of the new community of faith following Pentecost. I had been wondering what were their priorities in those formative days? Was it the sharing of stories, sharing their lives, healing, preaching the gospel? But then I read the chapters again and the one thing that struck me, almost like a bolt of lightning, was that on every occasion, they followed Jesus example and PRAYED
Before Pentecost they had prayed and then chosen Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:24). On the day of Pentecost itself they were together, possibly praying (Acts 2:1), and at the end of chapter 2 we are told that the new believers “devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching…fellowship…breaking of bread AND TO PRAYER (Acts 2:42).
Chapter 3 opens with a story of how Peter and John heal a man born lame, this happens as they were going to the temple “at the time of prayer – about three in the afternoon” (Acts 3:1), and once restored, the apostles help the man into the temple so that he too can pray. Peter and John are arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, and then on their release they return to the believers and PRAY in such a powerful way that the earth trembles and more people are filled with the Holy Spirit. This prompts an outpouring of love and the believers begin to share, not just their time but also their possessions with one another.
Chapter 6 concludes the first part of the book of Acts with a time of social unrest and prejudice amongst the believers. Some widows are being treated differently from others, getting special privileges while others are going without. The apostles stop their activity and give the problem their prayerful attention. Other gifted believers are chosen to sort the problem out and the apostles “prayed and laid hands on them” (Acts 6:6)
Acts continues with the stories of the apostles as they establish communities of faith and as they face challenges, head on, through prayer. Just for example we see the believers praying for Peter to be released (12:12); praying for Paul and Barnabas as they set off on their first journey (13:1-3); praying for converts, praying for prisoners to be released, praying one another, praying in worship, and praying for signs and wonders. Prayer is the top priority of the new believers.
So what does this tell us I wonder?! I think that perhaps prayer needs to be our number one priority too. When I was younger a favourite phrase in church circles was -
“7 days without prayer makes 1 weak!”
I have experienced many times when I have gone days without praying and have found this to be so true: I need to connect, not only with other people, but primarily with God. This God is the one who is the way, the truth and the life; the one who created me and who walks with me throughout all my days. He is the one who shows me the light in the darkness, he is the one who is the only truth, it is his benchmark that I should use to measure my value and worth, and he is the one who will be with me to the end of my days.
Is prayer a priority in our lives? In the dark and scary times it often is. There have been many who have prayed a “help!” prayer when life is difficult. How many times have we cried out to God when the world is closing in around us? But how often do we cry out to God when life is good? How often do we turn to God to ask him to help us through the day?
How often do we hear ourselves telling someone that we will pray for them and then walk away and forget what we had promised? God is always listening, always attentive, always waiting for us to connect with him. And when we do…well, my challenge to all of us this week is to give it a go, even if you haven’t prayed in years, just speak out to God and see what he can do for you.
What did he do for the first believers, Acts 2:42-27 tells us that as the believers continued to gather, they spent time together every day, and “the Lord added to their number DAILY those who were being saved.” I wonder what he would do for us if, as a nation, we took time every single day to pray for our leaders, our families, our friends and our world.
So, I will end with the words I always conclude my sermons with…”Let’s pray!”
(c) 2020 Reverend Brenda Brundritt
- 137 Sidcup Hill
- DA14 6JS