Sunday, I preached from Acts 4:23-31. Peter and John had been arrested for preaching about Jesus. They were released only after being warned to stop preaching. The text reveals what happened next.
After they were released, they went to their own people and reported everything the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they all raised their voices to God and said, “Master, You are the One who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You said through the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David Your servant:
Why did the Gentiles rage
and the peoples plot futile things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand
and the rulers assembled together
against the Lord and against His Messiah.
27 “For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness, 30 while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.
Little did I know as I preached from this text in our second service, a church in Texas was facing unfathomable chaos. We, like those spoken about in Acts, have heard the report. What next? We pray. Notice in the text…
The Immediate Response of Persons in Need
After they were released they went to their own people and reported what had happened and what had been said to them. We all need “our people.” We need to have the freedom to report to “our people” what is happening in our lives.
The Immediate Response of the Persons Who Hear of the Need
They raised their voices to God. Prayer was not the last resort. Prayer was their first response. This happens all throughout Acts. Christians, everywhere, have heard the report about Sutherland Springs, Texas. We now join together in raising our voices to God.
The Requests that are Made (Verses 24-29): How did the early church pray? How should we pray?
We must pray….
1. According to the Sovereign Control of God. “Master.” This is the same way Jeremiah prayed when God told him to purchase a field when at the same time he saw the Babylonian army gathering in the distance. Jeremiah went on to pray, “There is nothing too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17) This is the way Daniel prayed when God began to show him that the land of Israel was going to be restored.
Someone said, “Sovereignty is understanding that God is God all by Himself.”
2. According to the Creative Activity of God. “who made Heaven and earth…” When we pray according to the creative activity of God, we are acknowledging that He is in charge of that which He created.
3. According to the Victory of the Cross. Many conspired against Jesus, but God’s plan overcame.
4. According to the Crisis. “Now, LORD, look on their threats.”
5. Asking for God’s continued hand upon their lives.—Notice what they did not pray? They did not pray for the Lord to keep them safe. They did not ask for the threats to cease. Instead they prayed for boldness in the face of the threats.
6. Asking God to cause miracles to happen. (Verse 30) We all come to these points when we need a miracle. Our nation needs a miracle.
Make Acts 4:23-31 your prayer for Sutherland Springs today!
(This post is based on the message “How to Pray Together” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)