The word ‘prayer’ or one of its equivalents (prays, praying, etc.) occurs over thirty times in the book of Acts. They were a people of prayer. The early church blossomed because it was firmly planted in the rich soil of prayer. They prayed when choosing a new apostle. (Matthias, Acts 1:24) The elders prayed with Paul. (Acts 20:36) They prayed on the rooftops. (Peter, Acts 10:9) They prayed on the beach. (Acts 21:5) They prayed even when they were being put to death. (Stephen, Acts 7:59) Prayer is the common thread that binds the book of Acts together. What binds your life together? What binds our church together?
Prayer, heartfelt and fervent prayer, binds the heart of the believer to God and in turn brings the believer into a closer relationship with other Christians. For example: Let’s suppose there are two Christians standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower. They are at opposite ends of the structure. The base is 330 feet square. They squint but they can barely see the other person. Now they begin to climb the Tower. Beam by beam they struggle to pull themselves upward towards its peak which towers 984 feet above the earth. They begin to perspire. Climbing the Eiffel Tower is hard work, so is prevailing prayer. They continue on and as they make their slow ascent to the top they notice that they are drawing closer to each other. The goal is upward. Their focus is on the goal above. They move in a vertical direction but their course is carrying them closer to each other on the horizontal plane. Prayer accomplishes a similar purpose today. We struggle upward. We open our hearts to God and in so doing our Christian brothers and sisters are able to see our struggles and to share our joys.
Prayer was not the only step the disciples took when bringing the gospel to their world but it was the first step. Its prevalence in the early church was a sure sign that they were the eager recipients of grace upon grace. The last of the Puritans, Charles H. Spurgeon, wrote, “Prayer is the thermometer of grace.” May the grace of God which has visited the members of The Road increasingly spur us on to be a people of prayer. Have a blessed week and see you Sunday!