They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:14 (NIV)
Iâ€™ve been studying Acts and asking for more understanding about the early Church and what worked. â€˜Unityâ€™ is a big point. It is the point that most preachers and teachers speak most often, isnâ€™t it?
Mirriam-Webster says â€˜unityâ€™ is about â€œbeing oneâ€ and â€œin harmonyâ€. I love to listen to a band or orchestra or choral group. Itâ€™s not pretty, however, when it exhibits â€˜discordâ€™. Someone is on a different page than everyone else. Someone is playing another rhythm and not with the conductor.
In the Church, it is easy to become a so diverse in our programs that are meant to attract the largest cross-section of the local community that we loose sight of the Conductor who has THE sheet of music. Programs are no longer about â€˜ministryâ€™ but about numbers that reflect how well I am doing my job.
The early Church was first about prayer. Today we might think that is too simplistic. It was working for them. Maybe I need to consider that starting with prayer is the first and best place for every congregation to live. When we have a solid beginning with prayer, then we can move everything else in line behind prayer. How many prayer groups do we have in our churches? How much time in worship is given to prayer? How much does the preacher speak of prayer and teachers instruct AND exercise prayer in the classrooms? Luke tells us that this group of 120 in the Church was in UNITY and CONSTANTLY in prayer!!! Iâ€™m not even going to â€˜go thereâ€™ about the role of the women in prayer meetings. That should be a â€˜no-brainerâ€™ in todayâ€™s Church!
Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the menâ€¦So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, â€œLord, you know everyoneâ€™s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry,â€¦ Acts 1:21, 23-24 (NIV)
Here we have a meeting to choose the one who will replace Judas. Important place of leadership is determined through the nomination of two men and in verse 26 we are told they â€œcast lotsâ€ which history tells us involved â€˜chanceâ€™. BUT the vital factor comes between the need and the final word â€“ prayer to the One who KNOWS the best choice/answer. Do we use that same formula in choosing our leadership? Maybe weâ€™re good at â€˜choosingâ€™ and maybe weâ€™re uncomfortable with throwing dice â€“ but can we get â€˜on boardâ€™ with PRAYER??? In our committee/board meetings is heart-delivered prayer time on the agenda? Do we allow time for the Holy Spirit to speak to each of us, giving wisdom to our words and our thoughts? Does God get the opportunity to express HIS opinion?
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 (NIV)