We can hear them at the border, at sea among desperate refugees, in displaced persons camps, or in gang-ridden neighborhoods where death is an all-too-familiar visitor. Usually, we turn away. There are too many people like this. The pain is too uncomfortable to watch, and too overwhelming. Let it pass by. But God did not let this tiny disaster pass by. Though nobody could have foretold it, God used this tragedy to plant the seeds of His own Son Jesus' family tree. This burned-over little family came back to life, with an unexpected marriage and a new baby for Naomi to fuss over.
And the foreigner Ruth? Well, she ended up as an ancestor of Jesus our Savior. No doubt you know tiny disasters of this sort—people who have had too much bad luck in their lives for one person. Perhaps this describes you. If so, take comfort in knowing that God has not forgotten you.
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Your grief and suffering is the very soil from which Jesus' family tree springs to life. He came into this world for you—and for all who suffer under the power of evil. He came to carry our griefs and sorrows all the way to the cross, and to break the power of darkness and death through His own death and resurrection. He calls you to be part of His own family—healed, comforted, and given everlasting life.
We complain before God, and sometimes we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Ask and God will do. Give Jesus Christ the opportunity and the room to work. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything. We are not to preach the doing of good things; good deeds are not to be preached, they are to be performed.
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So Send I You, L. Bible in a Year: Psalms ; 1 Corinthians Donate Subscribe. Sign in. Back to menu. Username or Email. Instead, they are talking about the ministry of mobilizing the people of God to pray together.
They were marking out the two ministries they must especially do as church leaders. Let me show you the clues that lead to this conclusion. Verse 1 points out a problem with ministries. This section of Scripture is focused on ministry to people, not on personal issues.
Listen again: But we to the prayer and to the ministry of the word will steadfastly continue. That little word "the" that appears before prayer indicates that this doesn't mean prayer in general. It highlights something specific and important.
The syntax of the sentence creates the possibility that the ministry of prayer and the word are twin ideas. Every occurrence of prayer in Acts preceding Chapter 6 , 24; ; ; pictures the apostles leading others in prayer.
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Not one reference points to their private prayer time; the focus is on God's people praying together. So by testimony and by example, it is plain that the apostles placed a high premium on the people of God praying together. Let's add a second proof:. The apostles learned their leadership patterns from the Master, Jesus Christ. Ransack the Gospels for Jesus' teaching and practice of prayer, and you will identify 37 verses, sometimes repeated in more than one Gospel.
Of those 37 instances in which Jesus refers to prayer, 33 of them were addressed to a plural rather than singular audience. In other words, Jesus' instruction decisively leaned toward praying with others, not just praying in private. Take, for example, Matt. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. In fact, it is a plural "you," meaning Jesus is urging a gathering of believers to ask, seek, and knock. In other passages, Jesus deliberately emphasized the significance of praying together.
Listen to Matt. Jesus could have said, "If anyone asks This focus of Jesus' on more than one praying indicates that there is a design of God's in such gatherings, through which He uniquely and powerfully works.
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So the apostles made it a practice and a priority to teach about praying with fellow believers and to practice it because they had heard and seen Jesus emphasize the same thing. The Book of Acts records the mighty works of God for and through His church in its early years, and clearly connects them to unified, corporate prayer. The were gathered in an upper room praying in one accord when Pentecost comes Acts ; When Peter and John reported the Sanhedrin's threats, those gathered cried out to God in one accord for boldness, and the place was shaken where they prayed Acts , After James was martyred and Peter imprisoned by Herod, but the church was fervently praying, and God miraculously delivered Peter from his cell Acts While the prophets and teachers were praying and fasting, the Holy Spirit called Paul and Barnabas to go on their first missionary journey Acts Paul and Silas were praying when God sent an earthquake that resulted in the conversion of the jailer and their release Acts Again, let me say that I am not disparaging personal, private prayer.
Ananias was praying alone when God instructed him to go to Saul Acts ff. Peter was alone on the rooftop when he had his famous vision leading him to share the Gospel with a Gentile named Cornelius Acts ff. Nevertheless, the majority of God's recorded workings came when His people prayed together. There are so many examples of how corporate prayer was the springboard for the sweeping movements of God.
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Let me mention a few. In , America was riding the wave of a strong economy, and, as tends to be true in times of prosperity, showed a radical decrease of interest in the things of God. There was a layman named Jeremiah Lamphier whose concern led to a call for prayer. He tacked up notices in NYC calling for a weekly prayer meeting on Wednesdays from noon till one at a rented space on Fulton Street. The first prayer meeting was on September 23, Only six people came, and they didn't arrive until just before The next week, the attendance jumped to The numbers continued to climb week-by-week.
Then, on October 10th, the Stock Market crashed and financial panic ensued.
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Trouble had its humbling affect and the hearts of many turned to spiritual matters. It wasn't long until somewhere between 10 and 50, businessmen were meeting every day in NYC to pray at noon. By week 15, the meetings moved from weekly to daily. In , this prayer movement leaped to every major city in America. The Second Great Awakening swept our land.
Estimates are that a million Americans out of a population of 30 million at that time were converted in less than two years. And it all started with prayer.
Rees Howells, a Welsh coal miner, journeyed to South Africa as a missionary in in response to an increasing burden from the Lord. Six weeks after arriving, he joined in a prayer meeting. Out of that came the sweeping work of the Holy Spirit in which they had two revival meetings a day for fifteen months and all day on Friday. Thousands were converted as a result. I could tell you story after story of how corporate prayer became the springboard for the mighty movement of God.
But I want to add one more proof that is as current as today's newspaper. Right now, the Gospel is sweeping the globe at a rate that is unimaginable. Avery Willis, the VP of our IMB, has reported that statistically, most of the people who have ever been saved in history were saved during the 20th Century.