Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 7:15 AM
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
These early Christians were “devoted” to studying scripture (apostles' teaching), to one another (fellowship), and to sharing Jesus with one another (breaking of bread). The last activity listed in Acts 2:42 to which these Christians devoted themselves is prayer. If all these things were worthy of the early Christians devotion, and the Holy Spirit saw it fit for the author of Acts to write this down, then we have the duty to examine what devotion to these activities means.
So, what does it mean to be devoted to prayer? First, what is prayer? The Westminster Shorter Catechism, a document written to help lay persons understand matters of doctrine and belief, defines prayer like this: “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.” To state it more simply, prayer is a privilege given to us by Jesus where we thank, confess to, and ask from God. So back to the original question, how do we devote ourselves to prayer? This is a serious question, because in other places in scripture we are commanded to be devoted to prayer (1 Thes. 5:17; Luke 18:1). If we're honest when it comes to prayer, as it may be with a lot things, we just need to be more intentional. With the mercy and grace that God has given us, how can we not be more intentional to pray? Intentional to pray privately and intentional to pray with others.
So as we approach the new year and begin to make resolutions for ourselves (as is our modern day tradition), what possible resolutions can we derive from these early Christians:
- Establish and practice the discipline of prayer: letting God know your desires, confess your sins, and thank Him for His mercy.
- Schedule a regular prayer time(s). This time may be for you or you may choose to make it a family time.
- Be intentional to pray with other Christians when you get together.