Acts 1:4-5, 14; 2:4, And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. .. and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost …
Isaiah 40:29-31, He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Jeremiah 29:12-13, Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
When one reads the Book of Acts he will soon find that it is a book that deals with preaching, prayer, power, and persecution. It’s a book that is filled with the exploits of God’s people as they are filled, empowered, and led by the Holy Spirit of God. In our circles we don’t hear much anymore about the necessity of God’s presence and power in our lives. But if we ever needed God’s power and if we ever needed God’s presence it’s today!
When our Lord told His disciples to “wait” until the “promise of the Father” (the Holy Spirit and His power) came upon them it has both a prophetic and practical significance. I think it’s also a safe pattern to follow. Would it not be best if we “waited” on God, His power, and presence prior to taking on a huge task like the Great Commission. Planning and preparation are great. But seeking the presence and power of God in and through our lives is necessary!
While prayer doesn’t always change our circumstances, prayer always changes us!
As one authored noted:
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the disciples were in constant physical interaction with Him, so in many ways, their very conversations were prayers. When it came to specific instances of prayer, they admitted their desire and need to learn (Luke 11: 1). Typically, their prayers were selfish and sleepy. They jockeyed for prominence in their requests to Jesus, wanted to call down fire on those who rejected their message, and often doubted. However, after the Spirit came to permanently indwell them at Pentecost, their prayers changed. John Franklin describes it: “They went from being on their own agenda to being on God’s agenda. They quit seeking a seat on Jesus’ right and His left and began praying for boldness to testify in the face of persecution. They quit flirting with a return to fishing and focused on shepherding the people of God. They stopped worrying about their circumstances and began seeking an endowment of power from on high to preach the gospel. They changed from being self-centered to being God-centered. This determined their power with God– or rather His power through them.”
The same author continues by writing:
We see the early church in prayer most often seeking the advancement of the gospel through any circumstance. They prayed daily as part of a vital regimen of spiritual growth– for the sake of the gospel (Acts 2: 42). In the face of attack, they gathered to pray from the Scriptures, requesting fresh power for boldness– for the sake of the gospel (Acts 4: 31). When they were persecuted, they rejoiced in God for the honor of suffering– for the sake of the gospel– rather than asking for a reprieve (Acts 5: 41). When Peter was in jail, they prayed for his release– for the sake of the gospel (Act 12: 5). When Paul and Silas were in jail, they rejoiced in prayer and singing, trusting God– for the sake of the gospel (Acts 16: 25).
What was the difference?
Of course, it was the Holy Spirit’s presence and power manifest in their lives, which they prayed for in obedience to our Lord’s command [Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-3]!
O Lord, create within our hearts a hunger and thirst for You, Your presence, and Your power!