This is the fourth installment of a four part series. Although this post can stand alone, to fully grasp the intent please read the three posts directly preceding this one entitled, "Three Truths: Introduction," "Truth One: The Holy Spirit," and "Truth Two: Repentance." This is a series by Joshua Taylor.
Truth Three: Prayer (Acts 1:9-14)
Look at Acts 1: 14, “These all with one mind…” The entire church had a heart for prayer. All revivals come from prayer. Notice, “They continually devoted themselves to it.” The idea in the Greek is they “stuck to it.” They didn't give up.
Let’s be honest. Most prayer today is “God give me this,” and if it doesn’t happen, what? You just don't pray anymore. It’s the truth. I’m one of those guys too, but God’s delays are not God’s denials. I really believe what God wants from us is our earnestness. Do you really want revival?Let’s see how persistent you are.
We need to rediscover the persistence of prayer. This church would pray 10 days before the Holy Spirit would come. If your church didn't get a response after the first day, they might have planned a Great Commission Committee.
It says in Luke chapter 11 that if your earthly fathers know how to give good gifts, the heavenly Father will definitely give you the Holy Spirit, He is the best possible gift. That’s one prayer that God is not going to turn down, but understand you have to be persistent to pray for Him. You have to say, “God, we want Your Spirit and power in our church.” When is the last time you uttered that to God more than once?
R. A. Torrey wrote, “We live in a day characterized by the multiplication of man’s machinery and the diminution of God’s power. The great cry of our day is work, work, work, new organizations, new methods, new machinery; the great need of our day is prayer. It was a master stroke of the devil when he got the Church so generally to lay aside this mighty weapon of prayer. The devil is perfectly willing that the Church should multiply its organizations and deftly contrive machinery for the conquest of the world for Christ if it will only give up praying.”
When we don't pray, we have to carry out the Great Commission in our own strength. The devil knows perfectly well the Great Commission will be carried out, but he wants the Church frustrated and burned out while doing it. When we pray, the Holy Spirit comes and empowers us to go and love and share the message of Jesus Christ.
John Bunyan wrote, “You can do more than pray after you’ve prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you’ve prayed.” Do you know what organization will get you? Only what organization can get you. My education will get me what my education can get me. My eloquence can get me what my eloquence can get me, but prayer can get me what God can do. See what I’m saying? It’s totally different.
The great Welsh revival in 1904 started pretty much with one man, Evan Roberts. He prayed for 11 years, and it physically broke him. When all was said and done, God came and hundreds of thousands of people were converted and society changed, only when he set out to pray and not just once.
The Clapham Sect (William Wilberforce and his friends) would pray for three hours a day: “May You yet find a remnant of Your people here who are faithful to You, that You will spare this nation.”
Do you really long to see God move in our land like He did in the Roman Empire, like He did in England, in a society that is just as wicked and just as grotesque? If yes, then persistently pray: “Holy Spirit, come and work alongside Your Church. We ask you to empower Your church to reach the lost. We are desperately dependant on You.
Acts has 28 chapters, but I don't believe the story stops there. There were nine revivals in the Book of Acts that led to many salvations, and those same things can happen today.
...Joshua Taylor, College Student and Student Body Chaplain at Toccoa Falls College