A Devotion to Prayer

Acts 1:1-14

 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13And 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.

Water Lily-2 | Mercer Arboretum | May 2023

We’ve been praying a lot these last few days. Traveling with friends who share a common commitment to calling on God and praying for one another has added a new facet to our prayer life. When our 3:33 PM alarm goes off, we stop and each of the four of us offer a prayer for the people in our Life Group. We also pray at noon for a sister in Christ who is leading an important ministry with InterVarsity. Then comes my 9:00 PM alerts. Texts from two different call committees, plus an additional reminder on my calendar for a third remind me to pray for these three churches and the pastors who will one day serve God’s people there.

Prayer is the life-breath of a follower of Jesus dedicated to seeing his kingdom come. It is the life-line for those who are facing challenges, troubles, and needs. Prayer is the discipline of the believer who is living life in his or her god-given vocation as mother, father, baker, barber, banker, or beautician. It’s what we do as we wait to see how God is going to act, as well as what we do as we are in the vortex of God’s work in and through us.

So after the disciples see Jesus taken up into the clouds of heaven, having been told to wait in the city to see the promise of God  come true (the gift of the Holy Spirit), they pray. Luke tells us that the eleven Apostles “with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” These were exciting and challenging times. The Mission of God was on the cusp of take-off. But they were waiting. And praying.

Many times we must wait: For the birth of a child. For the return of a son or daughter. For a job promotion. For a vacation. For the results of a medical test. While we wait we might choose to stew and fret. Or we can pray. To that end, I love to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven,
     hallowed be Thy name,
     Thy kingdom come,
     Thy will be done on earth
          as it is in heaven;
     give us this day our daily bread;
     and forgive us our trespasses
          as we forgive those
          who trespass against us;
     and lead us not into temptation,
     but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom
     and the power and the glory
     forever and ever. Amen.

I especially think about the first few lines, concluding with Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen.

  1. Linda said:

    My 3:33 alarm goes off daily now and calls me to pray. Praying for my son Michael as he embarks on a mission trip to the Amazon next month. I’m grateful for that reminder.

    • Thanks be to God! Praying for his safe and successful mission trip.

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