Acts 1: 12-14
Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 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. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Last week we thought about how often we have to spend time in God's 'waiting room'. We think we're ready to move onto the next thing, but God still has some preparation work to do in us before He can work most effectively though us. That's where these first disciples found themselves - waiting in Jerusalem for the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
However, it's important that we see - waiting on God doesn’t mean sitting around doing nothing. These first followers knew that their prayers and God’s power worked hand in hand, so they gathered and "...all joined together constantly in prayer..." In the waiting they didn't sit passively around singing 'Kum By Ya'. No, they gathered every day, to pray down what Jesus had promised.
Prayer releases the power of God; prayer brings down the resources of Heaven and makes them available to us; prayer is the link, the conduit, that channel, that God has given us to have His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand why God set up the universe this way. He could just have just decided to give us whatever we need when we need it, but God has set things up in such a way that He wants us to partner with Him. We actually have a part to play in changing the way things are. Our prayers move God to action, our prayers make a difference, our prayers influence the course of human history.
In God’s sovereignty and absolute power he has delegated to us humans a great deal of authority. There are things in your life, in your church, in your community, and in this nation that if we pray – things will go one way, and if we don’t pray - things will go a different way.
There's an illustration of a man getting to Heaven and seeing a massive warehouse. He looks around and sees incredible blessings everywhere. So he asks what all the blessings on the shelves are for. The reply he's given is that these were all the blessings that God had stored up for him, but he never asked for them.
When we pray, God moves.
Leonard Ravenhill, in his book, 'Why Revival Tarries' makes these challenging statements:
"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. The pulpit can be a shop window to display one’s talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off."
"A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning."
“How can you pull down strongholds of Satan if you don't even have the strength to turn off your TV?”
Prayer is humility and lack of prayer is pride because when we pray we are saying: 'I need God to do this, I am not in control but God is.'
Prayer has always preceded every great move of God and so if we want God to move here in our churches and in our land, we need to be a people of prayer.
What is missing in your life right now? What is your greatest need? Why not heed the words of James: "You do not have because you do not ask God." (James 4: 2)