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TOGETHER in PRAYER



 


 

ACTS 1:12-26

 

12 Then the apostles 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.


15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”


18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)


20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms:

“‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’

and,

“‘May another take his place of leadership.’


21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”


23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

 
"They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers."
 

TOGETHER in PRAYER


As we read through Acts together you will notice something that is a continual reminder for all Jesus Communities. It is this, the many references to, (1) the prayer life of the early church, and (2) their unity of mind and heart. Now, let me say this, the early church was not perfect, and they had their own issues, and debates and disagreements and pressures. However, the Early Christian community has a great lesson for us when it comes to both prayer and unity. These two characteristics, along with a total dependence on the Holy Spirit, were the keys to the rapid expansion of the early church.


Unity is often thought of as a description of the Community of Jesus in which there is no divergence of opinion. That is not what we will witness in Acts at all. What we will see, however, is a unity in diversity. A more theological definition of Unity would go something like this, “the unity of the church refers to the union of the people of God, in all their various distinctives and expressions, bound to God and to one another by the gospel.”

One of the best examples of this for me has been my experience in committee work at our Church. For example, let me take the Worship Committee for an example. I would come to a meeting with an idea for ADVENT and CHRISTMAS worship themes. I had a fairly clear understanding of my theme and thoughts. Yet the final product, that you experienced in those services looked nothing like my original, because as committee members shared thoughts and ideas, the services developed and grew into something superior to what I had originally been thinking. Even sometimes the result of this committee work stretched me with great challenges. Now, if I had been pushing my own agenda, we would never have been able to achieve the kind of outcomes we experienced. Here is why. While we had different ideas about how to bring a theme and therefore worship to life, we also were united on some key points, whatever we produced in those meetings we all wanted to honor God, be faithful to the Bible’s teachings, and to challenge and encourage us all in our walk with Christ. On these we would not budge. I believe that this is what we see in Acts too, faithful in prayer, and united in mind and heart.


It is my view, that we don’t get to the unity of mind and heart without being faithful in prayer.


 

God of life,

we pray that our unity will be seen not only in what we believe

but also in how we work together to be salt and light in this world.

May our service today be a sign for each other and the world,

that we pledge to work together in your name

for the healing of this broken and hurting world.

Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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