After Peter and John were threatened and told not to speak in the name of Jesus, they went back to the church and reported to them all that occurred. With the threat of persecution, the church did what the church is best at: they prayed. As we examine this prayer, there are several things we learn about the early church.
They were in agreement (v. 24). When the church heard the report from Peter and John, they lifted-up their voice in one accord. They prayed in agreeing prayer. When God’s people come together and agree together in prayer, things begin to happen. Look at Matthew 18:18-20. My friend, we need to learn to pray heaven down. As believer’s in Christ, in the name of Jesus, we have the power to bind things in our lives that are already bound in heaven. In the name of Jesus, we have the power to bind sin and disobedience in our lives and in the church. We also have the power to loose things on earth that is loosed in heaven. We have the power to loose love, joy, peace, power, and the list goes on. As we come together in prayer, if we agree on these things. If we agree on the things that need to be bound and if we agree on the things that need to be loosed, God will respond and make it happen. The early church agreed together that the Gospel is not to be bound. The Gospel is not to be kept to themselves. The Gospel is not to be locked up in heaven. They prayed heaven down and they agreed that the Gospel should be set loose so that all may have the opportunity to know Jesus.
They recognized the omnipotence of God (v. 24). They began their prayer by acknowledging God as the creator and sustainer of all things. They recognized the fact that God is all-powerful and that with God nothing shall be impossible. As a church, do we truly believe in the power of God? Do we believe that God can do anything? Do we trust in the power of God? If we believe in the power of God then no regulation of man will stop us from preaching the Gospel. If we believe in the power of God, then nothing will hinder us from boldly engaging our community with the Gospel. If we believe in the power of God, money will not be an object, sin will not oppress us, self will not overpower us, and Satan will not overcome us! Church, we must understand that God is all-powerful and with God nothing can stand against us!
They had confidence in the Word of God (v. 25-26). Noticed how they prayed the scriptures. They quoted Psalm chapter 2 and claimed the Word of God over their persecutors. God’s Word is a powerful too. The question is, are we using it? The Word of God has the power to change things. We need to have confidence in what God’s Word says.
They believed in the sovereignty of God (v. 27-28). The early church believed in the Lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the world. They believed that God was in control and that He had a plan. Jesus came as the Savior of the world no matter what man did. There is a beautiful balance in the economy of God between His sovereignty and the responsibility of man. The bottom line is that God’s plan can never be thwarted no matter what man does. The decisions that man makes in his free will can never trump the sovereignty of God. The plan of God will be accomplished with or without us and no matter how we respond. The early church believed that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s plan to redeem the world and no action of man can ever change that.
They pleaded their cause (v. 29-30). As the early church agreed together concerning the omnipotence of God, the Word of God, and the sovereignty of God; they pleaded their cause before God and asked for boldness to continue to preach the Gospel even in the face of persecution. The prayer they prayed was perfectly within the will of God. Their cause was in line with God’s plan. They would not allow any man to stop them from preaching the Gospel. So, instead of giving in to the threats, they asked for boldness to preach the Gospel!
They received God’s response (v. 31). As they prayed, God answered their prayer by filling them with the Spirit and giving them boldness. They responded by ‘speaking the Word of God with boldness.’ My friend, if you ask God to give you boldness and courage to share your faith, He will give it to you. Boldness to preach the Gospel is available to us. All we must do is ask for it.
God desires to do great things through His church. He desires to use us in ways that is beyond us and in ways we never thought possible. When we come together in agreeing prayer, God will do amazing things in and through His church.