Praying together is not a novel idea to tell the truth. It’s been around for millennia. The Book of Psalms is filled with ways in which the people would gather together in prayer. They’d pray for the king, pray for the nation, pray for the people, pray for the other nations, and most of all, pray praises to God.
I’ve been reading through the Book of Acts as of late. In the first chapter, something caught my eye and attention. It had been 40 days since Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. He spent time with the disciples and so many others. He ate with them, talked with them, spent time with them. Then, on the 40th day, he ascended into heaven. Before he left, he told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until he sent the Holy Spirit upon them.
And so, after spending time looking up then then went back to the place they were staying. There was about 120 of them there. And they were a motley crew to tell the truth. Matthew (also called Levi) had been a tax collector. Scum of the earth for many Jewish people. Tax collectors worked for the Roman government and collected money to fund their own occupation. Then there was Simon the Zealot. A Zealot was a revolutionary fighter. They were constantly causing uprising against occupying Rome, usually using guerrilla tactics. You had Peter, Andrew, James, and John who had been fishermen by trade and not academically schooled. A motley crew to say the least. And there were many more there from so many different backgrounds and social classes.
One thing brought them all together–Jesus. They had all been with Jesus. They had all seen him, known him, heard him. Jesus gathered them together. And now that he was gone, truly gone, they met together.
We read in Acts
“They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1:1
They had been given instructions (by Jesus himself no less) to wait for the next step. They did what the only thing they could think of. They prayed. They prayed together. They prayed together constantly.
Today we’re so individualistic (I’ve harped on this before, but I’m not going there right now…well, maybe a little bit). We move around the country. We’re a mobile society, striking it out on our own. It’s in our nations DNA. But at the same time, we so desire community. We so desire to be with people. We begin to form our own tribes.
This is where church comes in. Church becomes a tribe. In Jesus, you truly belong and are accepted. The tribe of church collects us together in Jesus’ name. And as a tribe of church, we seek God’s direction and will. We do this through prayer. Prayer is the greatest, most important thing we as people and as the tribe of church are to do.
God answers prayer in three ways: Yes, No, and Wait. And he usually answers with wait. A lot.
And this is what the disciples and the others were doing. They were given instructions to wait. And so they waited. Yet in their waiting, they prayed together, constantly. It doesn’t say what they prayed for or about. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t more money to sustain programs or pay the rent for the room they were staying at. I’m pretty sure they weren’t praying for young adults to come back or seeking discernment on how to contextualize to a new generation. All it says is that they were praying. They were seeking God while they were waiting.
How are we doing that today?
Too many times, we as individuals and as the tribe of church, want God to act now and on our time table. We’re so used to instant results. Even in electing political officials (most definitely when electing the president of the US) we want results right away. We apply the same thing to God and Jesus in answering our prayers.
Stop that and be willing to wait.
Wait on God. Wait for his timing. Wait on Jesus. Wait on his leading. The disciples and the others waited. And 10 days later, the gift of the Holy Spirit was given and 3,000 people that day believed in Jesus.
Are you part of the tribe of church? Are you praying together constantly? Are you seeking God in prayer just to seek him? Prayer’s not praying for money to sustain programs, not asking for young families to replenish ones that have left, not wanting for the young adults to come back. It’s seeking God. Seeking God in Jesus’ name.
So. Are you with a tribe? Are you with a tribe of church? Seek God in prayer to seek him out. Seek God in prayer in Jesus’ name. Don’t seek him for your own wants and desires, but seek him to know his wants and desires. And come together, constantly, in prayer seeking him. Be willing to wait and see because it’s going to be amazing.