Pray with Dependency
Acts 4:23-31 Nov. 4 2012
When released, they gather the church for a prayer which serves us well as a model today. It is filled with praise and expressions of confidence in God, which leads to a request which, when fulfilled, will truly glorify God . That prayer is answered and the church, united in faith in love, continues to witness powerfully to God’s grace .
1. The believers unite in prayer and praise. (Acts 4:23-31)
Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Christ’s followers do best in company, provided it is their own company. It encourages God’s servants, both in doing work, and suffering work, that they serve the God who made all things, and therefore has the disposal of all events; and the Scriptures must be fulfilled. Jesus was anointed to be a Saviour, therefore it was determined he should be a sacrifice, to make atonement for sin. But sin is not the less evil for God’s bringing good out of it. In threatening times, our care should not be so much that troubles may be prevented, as that we may go on with cheerfulness and courage in our work and duty. They do not pray, Lord let us go away from our work, now that it is become dangerous, but, Lord, give us thy grace to go on stedfastly in our work, and not to fear the face of man. Those who desire Divine aid and encouragement, may depend upon having them, and they ought to go forth, and go on, in the strength of the Lord God. God gave a sign of acceptance of their prayers. The place was shaken, that their faith might be established and unshaken. God gave them greater degrees of his Spirit; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than ever; by which they were not only encouraged, but enabled to speak the word of God with boldness. When they find the Lord God help them by his Spirit, they know they shall not be confounded, Isaiah 1 .7.
The prayer is a model in several respects. (1) It recognizes God as sovereign . He is in charge. (2) It affirms God’s Word as relevant . It applies Ps. 2 to the present situation. (3) It asks for enablement, not relief . Christians can expect to share Christ’s sufferings as they carry on His mission. (4) It asks for God to act . God is able to work in our world, through miracles hidden as well as visible.
God’s will has several different meanings in the N.T. It may refer to God’s revealed standards of moral behavior. It may refer to His guidance of an individual to perform a specific act, or His shaping of an individual life. But God’s will may also refer to God’s fixed and unalterable purpose: that which God has determined must happen, and shall happen. God’s will is used in this last sense here. Other passages using God’s will in the same sense include John 6:38-40 , Gal. 1:4 , and Eph. 1:5-11