Have you ever been in a dynamic prayer meeting, a heart stirring, life changing, earth shaking prayer meeting? I know of a number of such prayer meetings in history, some even in my own lifetime. And there are several prayer meetings in the book of Acts that I would have given anything to be part of. Fortunately the Holy Spirit inspired them and Luke communicated them to us in such a way that you can almost step into them simply by reading the book of Acts.
We see one of those prayer meetings in the 4th chapter. Peter and John have been released from arrest by the Sanhedrin where they were beaten and warned not to speak again in the name of Jesus. When they finished reporting, the prayer meeting erupted. We read beginning from Acts 4:24.
“When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:’
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.’
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God Boldly.”
The Bible says they raised their voices together and prayed this long prayer. Now tell me, how do you think they did that? Did they all have it memorized so they could quote it like The Lord's Prayer? I think this is what happened. John said ‘Sovereign Lord!’ With that Peter said, 'You made the heavens!’ James said, ‘And the Sea!’ Bartholomew added, ‘and everything in them!’ As a 10 year old girl Mary the wife of Clopas had memorized some of the Psalms to sing as she did her chores. As they prayed David’s words filled her heart and she began to pray them. And one at a time the believers prayed off one another’s prayers.
We could pray the same way. Notice 3 crucial things we can see in this prayer and as we pray together ourselves.
First, we see the Fellowship of praying together. They were binding their hearts together in prayer. The person who is nervous can listen to someone else and something will come to her mind or his mind. In fact, someone who has never prayed can be taught to pray by being part of this body of Prayer. To do that everybody has to be paying attention to one another. Have you ever been in a prayer meeting and while others were praying you were thinking about what you were going to say? I have. And I'm ashamed of it. God will stir your heart with the prayers of others. When you pray together you can come into a deep bond of love and fellowship.
And we can see the Faith of praying together. Not only do you trust God in praying together but you have to have faith in God who is working in other people. They encouraged one another's faith as they prayed off each other and really prayed one prayer together. If you think you're the only one that has a word from God or knows how to pray to God you'll miss out on this kind of praying. When you're praying together you can trust Holy Spirit working in the whole group.
Finally this passage shows dramatically the Effect of praying together. When they got through praying the place where they prayed was shaken and they all began to speak the word of God with boldness. There is something very symbolic about this. That doesn’t mean it didn't happen. In fact this is how God revealed himself all through history. There was something symbolic about God coming down in the fire to Moses at the bush. But it was much more powerful symbolism because it really happened. When the Jordan River dammed itself so Joshua could lead the children of Israel across it was symbolic, but it was powerful symbolism because it really happened. They piled Stones up to remind future generations of what God did. When God shook that place and even the shyest person spoke the word of God boldly, they knew God was at work. And the symbolism of that prayer meeting continues to this day as God works mightily when His people pray together.
Lord, teach us to pray ...