Kingdom Prayer 4: Prayer in Book of Acts by Steve Childers & Larry Kirk

August 24, 2018 — Leave a comment

In his book Renewal as a Way of Life, Richard Lovelace writes, “Facing the formidable and largely unexpected task of evangelizing the whole world for the Messiah, the early church went to prayer, waiting for Jesus to pour out his Spirit to empower them for this task” (Acts 1:13-14).

It’s been said that two important principles emerge from reading Acts 1 and 2:

1) Only the very presence of the risen Lord could equip them to move outward in mission.

2) This movement could only be maintained through a continual dependence on him, receiving divine direction and encouragement in prayer

In the Book of Acts, we have Luke’s second volume on the person and work of Jesus.

Here we find the remarkable work of the ascended Jesus continuing to advance God’s kingdom on earth through the church by prayer.

 

In Acts 1 how do the church leaders find the purpose and power to lead this movement that is going to spread around the whole world? The Book of Acts opens with them gathered together, not teaching, not discussing, not strategizing, but praying. How then is the church birthed and a community formed?

“Facing the formidable and largely unexpected task of evangelizing the whole world for the Messiah, the early church went to prayer, waiting for Jesus to pour out his Spirit to empower them for this task” (Acts 1:13-14).

In Acts 2 the first thing we read what they were devoted to, before the Apostles teaching, is prayer. And we read they continued steadfast in prayers.

In Acts 4, when persecution breaks out, and Peter and John are arrested, how do they respond? They raised their voices to God in prayer.

In Acts 6, when the leaders face a serious ministry crisis in the church regarding the neglect of widows, how do they respond? They appoint deacons so they can devote themselves to two things, and notice the order again: to prayer and the ministry of the word.

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In Acts 10, when the inclusion of Gentiles into the predominate Jewish church is about to take place, how does it happen? While Peter, the Jew is praying and while Cornelius, the Gentile is praying in a different place.

In Acts 12, when persecution reappears in Acts 12, How do they respond? Acts 12:5, “Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” How then does a great harvest come to the church and this regional mission becomes a global movement?

The success of the gospel depends not only on God’s sovereignty, and the faithful preaching of the gospel. But also the faithful prayers of God’s people.  Prayer is the mysterious means that God chooses through which he releases the transforming power of the gospel in your life and ministry.

In Acts 13 (1-3,47-49) we read about the commissioning of Paul and Barnabas for their missionary journeys, “After fasting and praying, they laid hands on them and sent them.”

In Act 14, we read that when Paul and Barnabas appoint elders in each church, they always do that “with prayers and fasting.” Now that this gospel movement had broken down the walls between Jew and Gentile, how would it move from the Middle East to Europe?

In Acts 16 we read it was through prayer. And when Paul shows up in Europe, in a place called Philippi, where does he start his European movement? Acts 16 tells us it’s with a small group of women in a place where they normally meet for prayer. Then persecution resurfaces. Paul and Silas are thrown into jail there in Philippi. How do they respond? They sing Psalms, and they pray. What happens? An earthquake comes and their chains fall off and the jailer and his family join the movement.

In Acts 20, toward the end of Paul’s ministry he gathers together the elders from the church he started in Ephesus. He knew it was his last time to be with them. So what does he do before he gives them his final challenge. Acts 20 tells us he knelt down and prayed with them.

In Acts 28, at the very end of the last chapter of Acts, how does that last recorded healing take place? Here we learn that Paul visits a very sick man and prays for him, and he is healed.

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Every significant movement ahead for the kingdom is associated with prayer. The success of the gospel depends not only on God’s sovereignty, and the faithful preaching of the gospel. But also the faithful prayers of God’s people.  Prayer is the mysterious means that God chooses through which he releases the transforming power of the gospel in your life and ministry. Throughout the Old and New Testaments and church history, every spiritual awakening was founded on corporate, prevailing, intensive, kingdom-centered prayer.

Christians are used to thinking about prayer as only a means to get their personal needs met. More mature Christians understand prayer as also a means to praise and adore God, to know him, to come into his presence and be changed by him. But there is another kind of prayer that is not well known. It is what we call Kingdom Prayer.

Christians are used to thinking about prayer as only a means to get their personal needs met. More mature Christians understand prayer as also a means to praise and adore God, to know him, to come into his presence and be changed by him. But there is another kind of prayer that is not well known. It is what we call Kingdom Prayer.

Archie Parrish defines it like this:

Kingdom-focused prayer is not mere instinct but it is Spirit-enabled; not man-centered but God-centered; not self-serving but Kingdom-serving; not sentimental but Scriptural; not solo but concerted; not timid but bold; not passive resignation but proactive cooperation. Kingdom-focused prayer is the Spirit-enabled reverent cry of God’s adopted sons and daughters, seeking their Father’s glory by persistently asking him for the nations, their promised inheritance.

Jack Miller is known for his teaching about the difference between “maintenance” and “frontline” prayer meetings. Maintenance prayer meetings are short, mechanical, and totally focused on physical, personal needs inside the church. But frontline prayer has three basic traits:

  • A request for grace to confess sins and humble ourselves.
  • A compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church.
  • A yearning to know God, to see his face, to see his glory.

As a church leader, it usually begins with you. If you want your church to be devoted to prayer, it normally begins with your devotion to prayer—not just maintenance prayer but frontline, kingdom prayer—for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom.

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