The Advent part 23
Since what those who had gathered in the upper room were doing was praying, I thought it only fitting that I would spend some time on the topic of prayer and the importance thereof. The disciples of Christ were not gathered in the upper room strategizing their next fund raiser, they were not in the upper room having managerial discussions on where they could make cutbacks in the budget due to the shrinking economy, they were not planning the next community outreach pizza night or movie night, they were as one, with one accord in prayer and supplication.
This is one divine truth that many congregations either overlook, or are just too lazy to implement, the fact that it is prayer that opens the windows of heaven, it is prayer that grows a ministry, and it is prayer that touches the heart of God. Too often we take it upon ourselves to do what only God can do, employing the tactics and gimmicks of the world to elicit a positive response from others when it comes to receiving Jesus. Rather than hire jugglers, clowns, and comedians, rather than attempt to bribe people with prizes and monetary compensation for coming to the house of God on Sunday morning, why not pray that the power of God fall in such a powerful way that men will be compelled to come and give their lives to Christ?
Gimmicks are, well, gimmicky and they have no long term effect. The power of God however, is real and true and lasting, and it opens men’s eyes to the reality of Jesus far more readily than a farceur in a pink suit spouting off double entendres with a spiritual undertone.
The disciples as well as those who were gathered in the upper room had learned the importance of prayer from none other than Jesus Himself, and this is why, while they waited for the promise to be fulfilled they used the time to pray together.
The great misconception concerning prayer, especially in the now infamous ‘give me’ era we are living in is that when we pray, all we are supposed to do is ask God for things. Whether for material possessions, for health, for our daughters to find the right husbands or our sons to find the right wives, we’ve limited prayer to a laundry list of things we need to have, and we go before God with the selfsame petitions day in and day out.
Although they continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, it was not so they would somehow obligate God to keep His word, and send them the promise through their prayers. This would have shown more than a little lack of faith on their part to be sure. Their prayers were, as prayers should be, prayers of thanks and glory and praise toward God for what He was about to do in them and through them.
While they waited for the promise, they strengthened themselves and prepared their hearts through prayer, for that great event that God had promised through Christ Jesus.
No time is better spent than time in prayer and this is yet another lesson that the Disciples of Christ had learned from their Rabbi. Yes, prayer night has fallen out of favor in many Christian circles, and even the churches that still have them testify to the fact that they are poorly and sparsely attended. If only believers understood the importance of prayer, if only they understood that these are some of the most beautiful, powerful, and necessary fellowships among believers, perhaps they would prioritize their lives in such a way wherein going to prayer would not be burdensome, but rather something to look forward to and anticipate with great expectation and longing.
When a fellowship of believers gathers to pray under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the very act of prayer and supplication to God serves to strengthen the brotherly bonds, and to fuel the love of Christ in the hearts of those gathered. The Body of Christ becomes a more cohesive unit, and those gathered are no longer individual members but are in one accord, with the singular purpose of bringing glory and praise to the name of God.
Before I leave you for today there is one other thing I wanted to point out in regards to this verse, and that is the fact that along with the disciples of Christ there were also some women present, perhaps some of the disciples’ wives, Mary the mother of Jesus, and others heretofore unmentioned in the Word. The reason I bring this up is because some to day have taken it upon themselves to legislate certain practices within the body of Christ, and numbered among these new rules and regulations is also the stipulation that women are not allowed to pray in church. The Word tells us that all of them were with one accord in prayer and supplication. The women were not standing to the side, they were not downstairs preparing snacks, they were, as the Disciples of Christ, in prayer and supplication. There is no verse in the New Testament that says a woman is not allowed to pray in church, but rather when they pray they ought to adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.
1 Timothy 2:8-10, “Therefore I desire that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves with modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”
Now we could easily digress at this point, and start mandating what a woman should wear and what a woman shouldn’t wear, as many have and many do, but I think Paul said it best when he said that a woman should wear in the house of God, what is proper for women professing godliness with good works.
‘Is what I am wearing proper for a woman professing godliness?’ that is the question sisters need to ask themselves every time they prepare themselves to enter the house of God. When we ask such questions with sincerity of heart, be certain that we will receive an answer to our query, and know it with certitude.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.