I was reading my Bible this morning and a verse was brought to my attention. I have been going through the Bible book of Ezekiel, but this morning I wanted to spend a little time in the few verses I will not be preaching about this Sunday. (Oh by the way, I hope you are able to attend this Sunday because we are starting a new series called “Life-Changing ACTS”, a study through the Bible book of Acts. We will be looking at the early church and some the of first followers of Christ to see what we can learn from their lives as we experience the life-changing growth of faith and how we are part of the life-changing movement God started way back then). The verse that caught my eye was:
NIV Acts 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
One word in particular popped out. It was the word “constantly” (NIV translation). Some other translations take this Greek word and translate it “constantly devoting.” As I studied a little more, I discovered the word means “to give constant attention towards”, “to persevere in”, “to be steadfastly attentive”, and “to be unremittingly persistent in”. (You can find this same word in Acts 2:42, 6:4, Romans 12:12, Ephesians 6:18, and Colossians 4:2 and can look them up to expand your understanding). In other words, these early believers in Jesus saw prayer as important. They gave constant attention to prayer. Prayer was on their minds when a decision was to be made, when they heard of great news, when they learned of tragic news, when someone was sick, when someone accomplished great things, when they were alone, when they were with others, and when things were confusing or even celebratory.
See, prayer was never intended to be just something we do before we eat or something we do only at church. Prayer was meant for all times and for every occasion, both individually and with groups of people.
Prayer is simply talking to God. There is no special code or formula. God delights in the sound of our voice either audibly or silently as we think the words in our mind. It’s kind of like Tweeting, or texting, or posting something about your status on Facebook. Just let God know what you thinking, doing, feeling, or dealing with. We can ask Him questions or talk through an issue. We can and should tell Him how much He means to us and how awesome and wonderful He is. Jesus gave a helpful pattern for prayer in Luke 11 (look it up sometime).
The challenge here is to be devoted to prayer. Prayer is not just an event, but a spiritual practice we should make a regular part of our lives. So I encourage you to pray.
Praying with you and for you,