As Apostolics, we are firmly rooted in the Book of Acts where, in every chapter, prayer is either mentioned or alluded to. For Apostolics, there is no priority preceding prayer. Without the modern marvels of communication and travel, the book of Acts church made a global impact. This impact traveled on the wings of prayer around the corner and to the four corners of the then know world. Prayer continues to be the prerequisite for global impact in the twenty-first century. All of our extensive plans and expanded efforts will require extreme prayer to impact our world.
Without Acts 1, there would be no Acts 2. Prayer was the priority of the apostolic church. It was born in a prayer meeting and it will thrive only in an atmosphere of prayer. The back door of the prayer room will become the front door of evangelism. Evangelism without prayer is like an explosive that has no detonator. Prayer without evangelism is like a detonator that has no explosive. Together the church can blow the gates of hell off their hinges. It was said of the early church that they turned the world upside down. That is global impact.
Apostolic doctrine must be accompanied by the apostolic agenda and priority of prayer. This will produce the power for effective impact. Acts 6:4 clearly sets the apostolic agenda: “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer; and to the ministry of the word:” and please note that prayer precedes the Word. How would Acts 10 read if the apostle Peter had been too busy with plans and programs to pray in the middle of that notable day when Cornelius turned the handle on the door of the Gentile world, opening it for the gospel? The door of evangelism for the continent of Europe swung open on three hinges of prayer: Lydia’s prayer meeting by the riverside, the deliverance of the demonized girl as Paul and Silas were on their way to a prayer meeting, and the prayer meeting in the jail.
Prayer meetings were the pivotal points of the early church. It was while Peter and John were on their way to a prayer meeting that the lame man was healed, which produced a ready audience to receive the message, resulting in multitudes believing. After an earth-shaking prayer meeting, the words “multitude” and “believers” appear again. The impact of preaching is absolutely dependent on the priority of prayer.
A praying disciple by the name of Ananias was led in a vision to a praying religious leader by the name of Saul, and by praying and going, the religious system was cracked, and the greatest persecutor of the name of Jesus was turned into its greatest proponent.
The apostolic agenda of prayer (first) and the word made the early church effectively impacting:
- They affected the religious world of their day with the conversion of Saul and a great number of priests.
- They affected the business world of their day as noted by the conversion of Cornelius.
- They affected the ethnic structure of their day as noted by the conversion of Grecians, Romans, and others.
- They impacted individuals, people groups, cities, villages, nations, and continents.
They kept the priority of prayer.
Apostolic doctrine must be accompanied by the apostolic agenda of the priority of prayer. It has been said that you can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.
The fire of revival will never fall on empty altars. A sacrifice at the altar has always been required before the fire falls. It has always been so and remains so even in the twenty-first century.
Real global impact is not dependent on our preaching, singing, planning, organizing, or working. All of these will contribute, but prayer is the first essential.
Let it be said of us as it was of the early church, “…they continued . . . in prayers” (Acts 2:42).