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The Prayer Life of the Early Church (Acts 4:23-31, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Bryan WhiteBryan White, April 7, 2019
Prayer Life, preached at a Sunday Morning service

Sermon Notes:

Prayer Life

The Prayer Life of the Early Church

I. Prayer before Pentecost
Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:24–26)

II. The Early Church experienced the Spirit in response to prayer
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2)

III. The Early Church prayed together as they shared life together
All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. (Acts 1:14)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42-47)

IV. Early Church Prayer Habits:

A. For discernment
Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” (Acts 1:15-26)

B. For boldness in the face of crisis
And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:23-31)

C. When choosing leadership
They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. (6:1-6)

V. A Lesson in what not to do in prayer:
When he knocked at the outer gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. On recognizing Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” (Acts 12:1-19)

VI. The Early Church prayed for its leaders
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:1-3)

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About Bryan White: Although Bryan has lived in a variety of towns and cities throughout the Pacific Northwest, he feels God has brought him home to Eastern Washington through his call to Hillspring. Bryan holds a BA from Portland State University and a Masters of Divinity from Methodist Theological School in Ohio. In addition to his theological work at MTSO, he studied both Greek and Hebrew at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH. Bryan believes God has prepared him all his life to serve at Hillspring. He felt a strong, clear call from God to this ministry. His main passion in ministry is to help people grow as Disciples of Christ, through the Spiritual Disciplines such as prayer and Bible Study, but also by understanding that God has placed each of us in unique situations in the world to live our faith. Bryan is passionate about justice issues and community development, he is proud of the melding of those two areas in Hillspring Church’s After School Matters non profit as well as our unique Honduran ministry, m25. Bryan enjoys spending time with his family, loves being in the mountains, and playing guitar.
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« Lessons in Prayer from Jesus: Habits and FormNoneJesus Prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane »

Acts 4:23–31 (Listen)

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

  “‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26   The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers were gathered together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 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.

(ESV)

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (Listen)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(ESV)

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