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Last week I wrote about uniting in a tapestry of prayer focusing on the prayer meeting in Acts 4. Among the treasurer's that can be easily mined from that prayer meeting are some wonderful keys to unity in prayer. One of the most important is praise.

When Believers come together in prayer there is, or ought to be, a humility that welds our hearts together. We are broken, heartbroken, and forgiven. And that is certainly an underlying factor in the book of Acts and the whole Bible. However there is no specific reference to it in this prayer. You can, I suppose, sense it in the tone, but I do not believe it is in the words of this prayer.

The Holy Spirit also uses the opposition of the world to bind Believers together in prayer. This prayer is a prime example of that. Peter and John have just returned from the Sanhedrin having been beaten within an inch of their lives and warned never to speak the name of Jesus again in public. It is from this platform that this prayer burst forth from the hearts of the Believers. But while this was certainly a factor in their unity on that day, something else is primary as the people raise their voices together in prayer.

Note the words of this prayer beginning with verse 24.

“Sovereign Lord, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.”

The primary words that bound the church miraculously together on that day we're a triumph of praise. The people were bound together by the greatness and majesty of God our Savior and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I was recently in a prayer meeting that began with praise. The first two three people praised God. The next man chafed at beginning with praise. He was upset over things he had seen on the news that morning. He said, “I live alone and I don't have anyone to talk to but my dog. I've got to share this grief, and we've got to pray about these things.” As he shared the unity of the prayer meeting was diluted. The primary focus of prayer needs be God. When we start with our heart aches, fears, or the trials we face, we focus on ourselves.

Focusing on the greatness of God strengthens our faith. Praising God together strenghthens one another’s faith. Then when we come to pray for heartaches, we face them in confidence in the greatness of our God to handle them. Praise brings us into a powerful unity of faith encouraging one another to trust in God.


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Comment by Andrew R. Wheeler on October 7, 2017 at 10:50am

Very helpful words, David! 

What so often escapes us seems like it should be obvious.  If my prayers are focused on my needs, your prayers are focused on your needs, his prayers are focused on his needs, and her prayers are focused on her needs - there is no unity in that.  But if all of us focus our prayers on God (whether in direct praise, in recognition of what God has done, or in pleading for his kingdom to advance and his name to be glorified - all of which are to be found in the Acts 4 prayer), then unity comes naturally.  It's not something we have to work at - we get there by simply focusing our prayers on God.

All of this is not to say that we shouldn't pray for each other as we gather.  But if that's our starting point, there's no cohesiveness to the prayer.  If God's praise, glory, and kingdom are the starting point - as they are in the Lord's Prayer - then even praying for each other will take on a tone that promotes that unity as our hearts are knit together in desiring God's best for one another.

Comment by David Young on October 4, 2017 at 3:56pm

Amen, Malva. Glory!!

Comment by Malva Birch on October 4, 2017 at 11:31am

It is all about Him, not about us....


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