Most of us have a long list of activities we intentionally make time for—we have trails we like to hike, TV shows we like to watch, recipes we like to cook, and upcycling projects we can’t wait to tackle. But as much as we enjoy those things, we probably wouldn’t say we are devoted to them. If we are honest, there are very few activities we prioritize highly enough to do constantly.
The members of the early church had that kind of commitment to praying together. As soon as Jesus had ascended to heaven, they gathered in the upper room for prayer. And this was not a unique event. If we survey the entire book of Acts, we see that the first-century Christians prayed together all the time: They prayed when they arrived and when they departed. They prayed together when they were sick and imprisoned but also when they were simply sitting down for a meal. They prayed in formal worship services and at the riverside prayer meetings.
The early church had much to do, but essential to their gospel-proclaiming, bread-breaking, widow-feeding, and church-planting work was the task of praying together.
What’s more, they gathered for prayer with a diversity of people. Acts records prayer meetings that included prisoners, apostles, church elders, women, children, sailors, soldiers, and Jesus’s own brothers. Every Christian had a welcome place in the unity of corporate prayer.
Praying together is rarely easy or convenient, but the priority of the early church is an encouragement to us today. We, too, ought to unite constantly in this precious task. We, too, ought to join with all God’s people as they say, “Amen.”
Megan Hill is the author of Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches. You can follow her on Twitter at @mevanshill. These devotions draw upon themes in Praying Together by Megan Hill, ©2016, published by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. www.crossway.org.
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