7 MARKS OF A PRAYING CHURCH
"And being let go, they went to
their own companions, and reported all that the chief priests and
elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised
their voice to God with one accord and said, "LORD, You are God
Who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of
David have said, 'Why did the nations rage, and the
people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their
stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and
against His Christ, For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom
You anointed, both
Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of
Israel, were gathered together. to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose
determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their their threats, and grant to
Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by
stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders
may be done
through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." And when they had
prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the
word of God with boldness."
We frankly confess there are mysteries about
manís relationships with God that manís limited intelligence can
only penetrate dimly.
In the scripture preceding our text we have the
religious leaders of Israel serving as the agents of Satan in
persecuting true believers. In the disciples of Jesus we have what
the religious leaders described as "uneducated and untrained men".
(4:13) In the prayer of the disciples we have a testimony that when
Israelís religious leaders joined with Roman authorities in a rage
to put Jesus to death they were doing what God had predestined them
As we contemplate this scene we might ask as
others have done, "Since God is sovereign Heís going to do what Heís
From that conclusion we might even take the giant
leap in our thoughts as others have done, "Does it really make any
difference whether I pray or not?" If we do, we have made a colossal
blunder. There is abundant testimony that God desires His people to
GOD ENCOURAGES HIS PEOPLE TO PRAY.
"ÖFor My house shall be called a house of prayer
for all nations." Isaiah 56:7
When Solomon dedicated Godís Temple he received
this promise, "If my people, who are called by My name will
humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their
wicked ways, then I will hear from heavenÖ" 2 Chronicles 7:14.
In His sermon
on the mount Jesus instructed His disciples, "In this
manner, therefore, pray Ö" Matthew 6:9
After looking upon the great multitudes that had
come to hear Him Jesus said to His disciples, "Therefore
the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His
harvest." Matthew 9:38.
To encourage His disciples faith Jesus gave this
promise,"ÖWhatever things you ask when you pray, believe
that you receive them, and you will have them." Mark
To encourage unceasing prayer Jesus "Öspoke
a parable to them, that men always ought to pray, and not
lose heart." Luke 18:1
It is clear that God desires that His people pray
continually, earnestly and in faith. When they do God promises to
answer. If space were available we could list a catalog of Godís
astounding answerís to prayer.
In our text we have Peter and John returning to
their fellow believers and relating the threats they had received
from the religious leaders. By their response we are able to
identify seven marks of a praying church.
I. A praying church has spontaneous desire to pray.
" So when they heard that, they raised
their voice to God with one accordÖ" When Peter and John gave
their report which carried ominous tones of coming persecution the
church did not enter into endless discussion and questions about all
the details. They didnít call for a conference of all church members
to decide a course of church action. They spontaneously went to
II. A praying church lifts their eyes above the problems to the
"LORD, You are God Who made heaven and earth
and the sea, and all that is in them." They didnít
lock their gaze on the problems and wring their hands in hopeless
anguish. They didnít look to any man or resources for the solution
of their predicament. They presented their case to their heavenly
Father, Who is the Supreme Judge of all mankind. They believed their
God was the highest Judge of all Who could turn the wrath of man
into His praise. They left the care of their future in His hands.
III. A Praying church has a burning desire for Godís Word to be
spoken with boldness.
For what did the church pray? For an end to all
persecution? That they might be protected from any harm? That all
turmoil might be removed so they could make money; be prosperous;
build elegant homes and live in peace and luxury?
that in spite of all persecution the Lord would enable them to
preach His word with all boldness. They believed God had given the
revelation of His truth and the greatest needs of man are met by
hearing Godís word and responding to it in sincerity and faith. And
so, whether they suffer or not, they looked to God to empower them
to faithfully and boldly speak His word.
IV. A praying church will have the faith to ask for miracles.
"Öby stretching out Your hand to heal, and
that signs and wonders may be done
through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."
Sincere and godly Christians disagree as to
whether the sign gifts extended beyond the apostolic age. But,
surely, all godly men and women believe that God is able to perform
miracles and will perform miracles in answer to the sincere faith of
James wrote, "and
the prayer of faith will save the sickÖ"
James 5:15. Virtually every community of believers can testify of
numerous times God gave healing in answer to believing prayer.
Certainly, the salvation of every lost sinner is
a miracle from God. In our short history as a church we have seen
doors of opportunity miraculously opened; great needs met; wives
enabled to conceive and sicknesses healed. Our God is still a God of
V. A praying church will experience being filled
with the Holy Spirit.
"Öand they were all filled with the Holy
The prophetic day of Pentecost will not happen
again. The rushing, mighty wind will probably not happen again, nor
the cloven tongues of fire, nor the entire church speaking languages
they did not learn by natural means.
However, there are two things that happened at
Pentecost that continue to happen again and again:
VI. A praying church will have the power of God upon their
witnessing and preaching.
- Every person who is truly saved by Godís grace is baptized
by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13
- Believers who are right with God and who pray and believe
God to fill them with the Holy Spirit are filled with the Holy
Spirit. The same nine words describing this experience at
Pentecost (Acts 2:4a) are used here of believers at a later
time. "Öand they were all filled with the Holy Spirit."
"Öand they spoke the word of God with
"And with great power the apostles were giving
witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus"
Those who spoke did so with Holy Spirit power in
their words. Those who heard experienced Holy Spirit conviction in
their hearts. These early chapters of the book of Acts note hosts of
people being saved. They also note hosts of people being made angry.
Both responses are the result of Holy Spirit empowered witnessing.
May we not be content to speak Godís word with
manís wisdom but seek to speak with the empowerment of the Holy
VII. A praying church will have Godís grace on its members.
great grace was upon them all."
There was the beautiful grace of harmony
among the believers. There was sacrificial grace to minister to
others with their possessions as good stewards of the grace of God.
There was joyful grace in fellowship that had the blessing of God.
There was spiritual grace that enabled them to grow in maturity as
Great blessings come to a praying church. May
each one of us aspire to be a praying Christian that contributes
towards making a praying church.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.