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9 // A Radical Community

Characteristic 5: Devotion to the Prayers

Read Acts 2:42-47 (ESV) & 1 Timothy 2:1-15 – Characteristic 5: Devotion to the Prayers “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (v.42 (ESV)) There’s no avoiding the fact that the early church was constantly at prayer. Even just before Pentecost, we find the disciples devoting themselves to praying (Acts 1:14, 24). After Pentecost the new believers are devoting themselves in prayer, probably to the traditional times of prayer at the Temple. However, it did not stop there but grew into a default response for them. Facing persecution from the Jewish authorities in Acts 4, they lifted their voices in prayer; “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)

This is such an important feature of a healthy New Testament church that Paul even goes as far as making it first priority “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” (1 Timothy 2:1). It’s certainly true that we all need to come before the Lord individually in prayer if we are to have a healthy walk with Jesus but there is something more revealed to us by the early church. A powerful church community is devoted to praying together. Devotion to “the prayers” meant committed to corporate times of prayer and, significantly, these are the moments scripture describes when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all those gathered. This is perhaps why the enemy tries to ensure the worst attended meeting in any church is the prayer meeting. Last month as over 40 of us prayed together at 7.30am in Coffee Republic, I could understand Paul’s words about praying “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour. (1 Tim.2:3). Let’s make 2018 the year when over 100 at ‘the prayers’ becomes a reality.

Pray today:

· Pray for our nation and leaders today.

· If you can, why not put a Living Hope monthly Prayer meeting into your diary and commit to prioritise this in 2018 even if you can only make part of it?

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