My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The church is still in diapers.  Persecution is attempting to silence truth.  Peter and John have just been released from the Jewish council.  They go to “their own company” to report (Acts 4:23 KJV).  It seems Peter is beginning a habit, when released, to go where the church meets for prayer (Acts 12:12-17).  Once the report is given to the brethren, the church lifts it voice in the following short prayer (v.24).

So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?  The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’  “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:24-30

Prayer is one of the actions which the church “continued steadfastly in” (2:42).  When the apostles ordained the seven to wait on tables, prayer was offered before the church (6:6). When the apostles went to Samaria, they prayed that the church there would receive the Holy Spirit (8:15).  When Peter escaped from prison he went to where the church was praying (12:5).   The elders prayed for Paul and company as they went out to evangelize (13:3).  Paul and company prayed when ordaining elders in the churches (14:23).  Luke tells us prayers were offered by the church, but the prayers themselves are not recorded.  What did they say in prayer?

The only recorded assembly prayer in Acts is the one found in chapter 4.  It is interesting what it does and does not contain as an assembly prayer.

  1. The prayer does not begin nor end in the way modern prayers do, such as “We pray this in Jesus name” or “we ask this in Jesus’ name.”
  2. “Amen” is not used in closing the prayer.
  3. “Forgive us for our sins” is not listed.
  4. “If we have been found faithful” is not there.
  5. “Our Father” is a phrase not used.
  6. They do not thank the Lord for Peter and John being released and assembling with them.
  7. It is a short prayer.

The results of this prayer were, “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:31

I am not saying it would be wrong to begin or end a prayer in Jesus’ name.  I am not saying it is a sin to end a prayer with “Amen.”  Nor am I discrediting any prayer which includes “Forgive us,” “found faithful,” “Our Father,” or words of thanks.  I am not condemning long prayers.  I am amazed because this biblically recorded prayer does not contain the typical things we look for and expect in our assembly prayers today.  The results of that short prayer is that the assembly was not silenced by persecution or its threat, but were bold in their proclamation of it.  Would that not be a wonderful results of our assembly prayers today?