All together now! (August 2017 Monthly Comment)

August 2, 2017

in Monthly comment

Do you know the first thing that the followers of Jesus did after he had left them and gone into heaven? They went back to their upstairs meeting room in Jerusalem and started praying. There were the 11 disciples, Mary, Jesus’ mother, his brothers, of which Matt 13: 55 mentions 4 (though it also mentions sisters – number unknown) and the other women who had been at the cross and then around at the resurrection. So that’s 11 + 1 + 4 + possibly 6 other women, and possibly one or two of his sisters, if they had come to believe in their Brother. So perhaps a couple of dozen folk were there, and in Acts 1: 14 we’re told ‘They all joined together constantly in prayer’.

Do you think that’s something we could do well to practice? Of course they had just had an amazing experience there on the hill receiving Jesus’ last words and seeing him disappear leaving them with challenging, though reassuring promises. Throughout the early church’s life we read several times of such gatherings together to pray. Do we have the same spirit and desire to be seeking God prayerfully together?

Of course we have two groups on a Wednesday evening that, along with some Bible study, join together in prayer; and we have a time of prayer on a Saturday morning that we humorously(?) call Early Prayer—when it isn’t early really. I have to confess that being there for 8.45am is a challenge, but we do have some special times in prayer. And, of course there is usually a time of prayer in our Sunday services.
But how many of us really have that desire and burden for the work of the Lord that makes us want to take every opportunity to meet together for prayer? Some who are older, or infirm obviously can’t get there—though I could name one or two nonagenarians who do so when they can! Forgive me, I’m not meaning to berate people into attending the prayer meeting, but I want to encourage each of us—myself included—to seriously seek to give a high priority amongst the other happenings in our lives to desire to get together for prayer for the work of the Kingdom in this church, in this community, in this town and surrounding villages, and in this country.

The elders have talked over the possibility of having a day, or half day of prayer again for the church to earnestly wait upon the Lord for his direction and guidance in our witness in the area, to cry to him for those we know who are yet lost, or who have wandered from fellowship in the Lord. A decision is yet to be taken, but please may we prepare our hearts to pray fervently together.

I have the privilege of owning a copy of the 2nd imprint of the Bible in English—a Matthew’s Bible, dated 1537. It was my father’s and is precious to us. As you can see on the front of this Connect, Isaiah 65: 24 is shown in that version. We know the verse in the NIV as God saying: Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. It’s found in a Messianic passage speaking partially of the new Jerusalem, but I believe the Lord does that for all who seriously, determinedly and constantly get together to pray. But don’t you just love the Matthew’s translation: And it shal be that or ever they call/I shall answer them. While they are yet but thincking how to speake/I shall heare them. See that? While we’re still thinking about what to say, he hears us. Daniel experienced that in Dan 9: 20-23. Why not us?

Steve Piggott

August 2017

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