THE PRAYER AT PENTECOST
If we turn again to the Church at Pentecost, and to the Apostles’ attitude to prayer, we shall see how to them prayer was a work.
There came trouble to that Spirit-filled Church, and in the midst of it the Apostle said: “we will give ourselves to” putting this matter straight? No. But “we will give ourselves to PRAYER, and to the ministry of the Word”.
The early Church knew how to pray. They knew how to open the prison doors for Peter. They did not go with a petition to Herod, but betook themselves to “instant and earnest prayer”.
That was praying that “worked” just as effectively as with Elijah and Moses. Here are the Apostles – men baptised with the Holy Ghost – saying, “we will give ourselves to prayer”. Is this the order of “work” in our lives?
We are responsible for the things over which we have not prayed. We think too often that “prayer” means half-an-hour in the morning, special risings, hours, places – even prayer-meetings where half the people go to get right with God, or go mainly for their own personal needs.
Would Elijah have had that mighty, effective prayer, if he had all the time to be going to as “prayer” simply for his own personal growth? No wonder we do not understand that prayer is a work, and that every prayer should accomplish something.
We have seen the work of prayer by Elijah for a whole country, and the work of prayer in Moses for the chosen nation; now let us take the example of Paul in his work of prayer for the Churches, and individual believers.
First, see how Paul himself craved the prayers of the saints he addressed, although he was a man baptised with the Holy Ghost. He knew God, and yet almost with tears he pleads that God’s children should join him in his intercessory life, and share with him in his service and conflict.
Have we not left the pulpit unprotected by prayer? How much do you pray for your minister?
How much have you prayed for the man in the pulpit, side-tracked by the doctrines of demons of to-day?
We are responsible even for the things we grieve over in the Church, because we have not watched unto prayer.
It has not dawned upon many of us that we must pray for all saints, and all God’s people; and that specially every man in an exposed position should be the subject of our persistent prayer.