Rev. & Mrs. Kenneth Fellenbaum

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Milford, Connecticut, United States

Bible Verse of the Day

Friday, September 30, 2011

Prayer and Sharing

Christians often use the words "prayer" and "sharing" together. The way this phrase is used in the North American Church is different from the "praying and sharing" that is reported in Acts 4:23-37. When believers today refer to "prayer and sharing" it is more precisely "sharing and prayer." The occasion for prayer is usually preceded by a period of sharing concerns and requests. Many times this gets rather lengthy and is actually longer than the prayer time itself. Why do we have to discuss things among ourselves before bringing them to the throne of God? Why not just pray? Others listening can pray along in agreement or pray for the needs themselves.

How different things were in the Jerusalem church! They prayed first - a very deep prayer that was then followed by the sharing of their material goods with those who had need. Let us look first of all at what they prayed and then secondly how they shared.

After the release of Peter and John (from custody of the Sanhedrin) the believers raised their voices together in prayer to God" (Acts 4:24-30). Notice the content of their prayer. 1) The Sovereignty of God. The Almighty is the Creator and Sovereign Lord of the universe. This is a good thing to remind ourselves of when things seem to be out of control. Evil people may be acting on their own volition but somehow God works everything into his purpose and will (See Luke 2:1-12 & Matthew 2:3-6). 2) They referred to Scripture, actually quoting from a relevant passage from Psalms. This is an excellent thing to do - use God's own words when we are seeking something from him. Of course this means we need to be familiar with the Bible in order to do this. To "beef up" your prayers, incorporate God's Word and promises. 3) When they got around to their request, they asked God to strengthen them so they could meet the situation and not avoid it. Most of the time today Christians ask God to change the circumstance instead of changing them. The result of this prayer is noted - the place (not the Christians) was shaken. The believers were once again filled with the Holy Spirit (See Acts 2:4 & Ephesians 5:18). When we are yielded and committed to God we are filled by his presence.

Now observe what occurred next. The believers were unified - "one in heart and mind." This caused them to share what they had with each other. Some even went so far as to sell their possessions and donated the funds to the Apostles- who then distributed where the needs existed. The outcome was that there were no needy persons among them. This voluntary action (see Acts 5:4) was true Christianity action. No wonder the Early Church had great power and much grace (Acts 4:33). The modern church needs to rediscover the actions and attitudes of the Early Church. We need to bring our "prayer and sharing" in line with what is described in the Book of Acts. Perhaps then we will see great numbers turning to Christ.

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