Sermon in a nutshell: “They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:12-14)

Sermon in a nutshell: “They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:12-14)
When the disciples heard the commandment to be the witnesses of Jesus, they gathered together to pray. Not only the disciples but also the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers all joined together constantly in prayer. This is our model! Before we do anything, we need to pray for the ministry. Prayer is the key to the door of mission and ministry.
However, many people do not know how to pray and what to pray. So, today, we will pray together, learning about prayer. First, what do we pray for? We pray for many things but we can summarize it as ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
A: We praise God in our prayer. We adore God because God is loving, forgiving, giving, all-knowing, all-powerful, and creative.
C: We confess all the sins and mistakes that we have committed and made.
T: We give thanks to God because God forgives all our sins when we confess them.
S: We ask God’s intervention for us, for our beloved ones, and for others. When we pray for others, we call that an intercessory prayer.
There are many different ways to pray. The most common practice is silent prayer. We usually close our eyes to focus only on God. We even fold our hands together to put all our energy in prayer. We silently praise God, confess our sins, give thanks to God, and ask our requests.
We can also pray in a loud voice. When we pray together in our services, sometimes we read the prayer loudly together. It is a unison prayer. If you go to our Friday evening prayer meeting, you can experience a different style prayer. Everybody prays in a loud voice together. If you do not focus on your own prayer, you cannot pray because you are busy listening others praying. It is called Tong-Sung Prayer. Many Korean speaking congregations are practicing this type of prayer. When I demonstrated to our pastors in our conference how to do it, they felt uncomfortable. So, this is not the prayer that English speaking congregations are familiar or willing to practice. The key point is that there are diverse ways to pray and they are all acceptable as long as we praise God, confess our sins, give thanks to God, and plea for ourselves and others in prayer.
Two other things we have to learn about prayer are that (1) they prayed constantly and (2) they prayed together. The Bible also commands us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) to be able to rejoice all the time (1 Thessalonians 5:16) and to give thanks to God in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Prayer is like breathing. We should not stop it. When we stop praying, we die! In other words, we lose our communication with God and eventually lose our connection with God. If we are disconnected from God, we are dead people! When we pray constantly, we get to know God and we become one with God. Our will and thoughts are becoming like God’s.
We can have an individual prayer but to have a same mind in God we need communal prayer. Jesus also promised to be with us when two or three gather together in Jesus’ name (Matthew 18:20). That means when we gather together to pray in Jesus’ name and become one body in God’s love we can do God’s work together. If we want to serve our community as the body of the Lord, we need to pray together. That is why we need prayer meetings and prayer groups. Whenever our committees and small groups meet, we pray together for each other. This is how we prepare ourselves to welcome the Holy Spirit. I pray that our church should serve the world with power and might through our prayers!
1. Where do you pray every day?
2. Who are your prayer partners?
3. What do you pray for daily?

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About biblepreacher

United Methodist Church Pastor. My wife, Hysung Hong Lee, is also a UMC pastor and my children are all grown and have their independent life. We have now empty nest. I and my wife are collecting some mission eggs now in that nest!
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