There were two things that really jumped out at me right away in todays reading. The first thing to notice was how scripture saturated the prayer was in 4:23-31. I taught Psalm 2 in recent memory and so the reference (Psalm 2:1-2) was still fresh on my mind. For a while now I’ve been trying to model my prayers after the Psalms and other various passages of scripture. It was neat to see how this was affirmed in the reading today. I’ll put a link the resources to a Donald Whitney book that has been helpful for me.
The second thing that really stuck out at me was how much opposition the early church faced. Sometimes we can put on rose colored glasses and think that everything was splendid while God was adding to their number each day. It can be easy to forget that the growth came also with much persecution. As much as God was adding to the church, there were those who were dead set against the gospel and who were willing to murder even.
This shouldn’t surprise us that the gospel has such a profound effect on the lives of people. The gospel has a polarizing effect. Some will come to the Lord and some may harden their hearts and persecute the church. It’s admirable that the early Christians saw this undue suffering as a badge of honor (5:41). Today we often view the road of suffering as missing God’s will, but they saw it as being in the center of His will. The day is quickly approaching and in some ways is already here where individuals will be persecuted for believing the gospel.
Father, thank you for the ability to call out to you in prayer. Thank you so much for the many models of prayer we see in the scripture as well as being able to use your Word to craft our thoughts into well versed prayers. Today we ask that you would give us a boldness to be witnesses for you just like those early disciples. Should we suffer for our witness of you, we ask for the humble attitude of the disciples who rejoiced that they were found worthy to suffer for your name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The Cornerstone (Acts 3)
Your Sin isn’t Small (Acts 4)
The Necessary and the Urgent (Acts 5)