Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.[c]
15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,
“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
“‘Let another take his office.’
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show 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.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
I am struck by how prayer bookends the events of this section of Acts. The disciples are gathered in the upper room praying as the scene unfolds. They join in prayer before choosing Matthias to join the eleven as one of the witnesses to the resurrection. The early church were pray-ers. They weren’t trying to make a name for themselves as dedicated pray-ers. They simply prayed. They sought God’s favor, guidance, help, and blessing.
When we pray – especially together with others – we deepen our relationship within the body of Christ with each other. We acknowledge our need for God’s wisdom, help, guidance and strength. We witness to our humility and willingness to live in alignment with God’s will. When we pray we orient ourselves toward God and seek his presence in our lives.
I notice also that the orientation toward prayer as well as the specific context of their prayers was based on the Word of God. They acknowledged that God’s revealed will was being worked out – even in Judas’ betrayal and final act of despair. They acknowledged that God’s Word also directed them to find a replacement. Prayer that flows from God’s Word is most certainly well-founded and rightly secured.
If we are willing to offer our prayers in humility, faith, and from the context of God’s word and will, they will certainly be worthy of anyone’s amen.