What do we learn from the people who were with Jesus? What did they do in response to Jesus?
“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” – Acts 2:42
“Prayer is a personal, communicative response to the knowledge of God.
Our definition understands prayer as a response to the knowledge of God, it means that prayer is profoundly altered by the amount and accuracy of that knowledge. Calvin observed that we all refashion that sense of deity to fit our own interests and desires unless through the Spirit and Scripture our view of God is corrected and clarified.
It is an effort to communicate. Through the Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit, our understanding of God can become unclouded.
The moment we are born again by the Spirit through faith in Christ (John 1:12-13; 3:50), that Spirit shows us that we are not simply God’s subjects but also his children, and we can converse with him as our Father (Galatians 4:5-6).
” – Prayer by Timothy Keller
Conversation and encounter. Relationship moments. Interaction.
Followers of Jesus noticed the way he prayed and asked for guidance.
“Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” – Matthew 5:16
Have some frequent private personal prayer time with God. – Matthew 6:6\
Don’t repeat words that are meaningless to you, thinking that the repeated activity will get you what you want. – Matthew 6:8
The Lord’s Prayer “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” – Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13 Luke 11:1-4
Prayer is described as an important expression of their faith in Jesus, as Savior. (In Acts.)
Should be no surprise to us that the Jesus-followers who gathered, “were constantly devoting themselves to prayer.” – Acts 1:14
“Luke gives considerable attention the role of prayer in the early church: first, he refers to the prayers of individuals such as Stephen (Acts 7:59), Saul (Acts 9:11), Peter (Acts 10:9; 11:15), Cornelius (Acts 10:30-31) and to Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25); second, he records time of corporate prayer among the believers when they selected Matthias (Acts 1:24), prayed for Peter’s release from prison (Acts 12:5; 12), commissioned Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:3), appointed elders to certain churches (Acts 14:23), and when Paul said farewell to the Ephesians elders (Acts 20:36) and the church in Tyre (Acts 21:5).” – The Emergence of the Church by Arthur G. Patzia
The things that were priorities to Jesus and His followers should be priorities to us.
Why is this challenging?
We might not believe that God is listening.
God hears our prayer.
17 The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34:17-18
“We are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” – 1 John 5:14
Learning to pray can be challenging.
God the Holy Spirit is available to help.
“The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:26-28
They believed in being devoted to prayer. They practiced this. They taught this to new generations of believers.
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” – Colossians 4:2
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” – Ephesians 6:18
“Don’t worry about anything: instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he’s done.” – Philippians 4:6
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them.” – 1 Timothy 2:1
Questions to ask ourselves:
Is prayer a priority to me?
Do I view prayer as a conversation with God, who is already interacting with me?
What should we do?
1. Have a conversation with God today. Confess where you have been wrong. Receive forgiveness. Ask for help. Make a fresh commitment to be devoted to prayer.
2. Make a plan for the where, when, what, how, and why you are going to pray tomorrow.
3. Communicate with at least one other person in our church family about your prayer life.