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Devotions > Acts and Actions of the Early Church

Prayer Encourages God's Work
23 Feb 2012


When one takes a look over the recorded history of God working in and through His people to bring glory to His name, it becomes evident that He has plans to overcome evil, not just at the end of time but these plans are at work constantly.   He has plans that will bring many a child of this world into a personal relationship to Himself, a part of the family of God.   He has plans in our day to build up His church through a renewed focus on true discipleship.   His plans include the work of His church impacting the current culture to the glory of His name.  Yet as we carefully compare this particular time with the overarching work of God throughout all recorded history, we cannot avoid this observation: today there is a growing secularization of His Church.

As the fervor by the people of God to hold to the commands and principals of God wanes, we see the impact of His church upon our culture significantly diminish.  When people come to Christ in a Sunday service or “Tent Meeting” environment, without more mature Christians walking with them through the stages of spiritual maturity, they often soon develop into spiritually immature older Christians who look and act much like their counterparts in the world. The result: they have little in their lives to attract others to faith in Jesus.

Earlier this week in a conversation with a local pastor I listened as this man poured out this burden from his heart. His burden for his church and the Church consists of the desire to see a movement back to the means of building Herself up that we observe in the book of Acts.

 He went on to define these as 1) authentic fellowship where people really get to know each other, not merely each other's “Sunday Morning” appearance.

Acts 2:46-47 (NASB95)
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

2) Devoting themselves to the preaching of the Word and prayer.

Acts 6:2-4 (NASB95)
2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
3 "Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
4 "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."

3)  Making disciples as the primary means of expanding the impact and outreach of the Church.

Matthew 28:19-20 (AMP)
19 Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be).

When you consider the methods and means of the church in North America to sustain and build Herself, to what extent do you observe these basic biblical principals at work?

Let’s look specifically at prayer.    How are we doing as the Church in relation to effective fervent prayer on a daily basis?   I sense that you who receive this communication are among those who regularly pray.  But is our praying in itself enough?  Or do we need to move beyond “our” praying to encompass praying for the church’s praying.   If the church generally is not praying in faith, how else will this change, except for the work of God in answer to our prayers? 

We could further speak in this same vein regarding prayer for revival, and for the preparation for revival.   Could it be that your prayers for His Church’s preparation for revival would be pleasing to God?   Would you be willing to consistently pray for the return of His Church to the biblical principles that He delights to use to build His church?   Do you think that God would be pleased if you were to pray for a Holy Spirit empowered revival to come down upon your community?  Would you be willing to ponder these questions in the presence of God?

One hundred and thirty years ago these words were penned by E.M. Bounds:

“Natural ability and educational advantages do not figure as factors in this matter; but capacity for faith, the ability to pray, the power of thorough consecration, the ability of self-littleness, an absolute losing of one’s self in God’s glory, and an ever-present and insatiable yearning and seeking after all the fullness of God—men who can set the Church ablaze for God; not in a noisy, showy way, but with an intense and quiet heat that melts and moves everything for God.

God can work wonders if he can get a suitable man. Men can work wonders if they can get God to lead them. The full endowment of the spirit that turned the world upside down would be eminently useful in these latter days. Men who can stir things mightily for God, whose spiritual revolutions change the whole aspect of things, are the universal need of the Church.”

Is this our job description today?   God, as is His nature, is waiting on each of us to respond. 

Jeff Williams