Prayer and Power: Lessons from Acts
By Carol MadisonWhen the editorial staff of Prayer Connect decided to do an issue of the magazine on the topic of prayer in the Book of Acts, I took the summer of 2017 to pray my way through Acts. I sat on my porch many evenings while I outlined every instance of prayer I found. Then I journaled my personal prayer responses to everything related to the way God advances His Kingdom through the faithful prayers of ordinary people. This journey deepened my faith and my longing to see the same power demonstrated in my own prayer life. Of course, as I prayed, I had surges of great confidence but also times of momentary wavering. That seems to be a pattern in my prayer life whenever I ask God for supernatural breakthroughs. But I pray on!
Natural BenefitsActs is loaded with prayer principles for those who, like the early Christians, live a prayer lifestyle. This sample of truths both encourages me and challenges me:
- We need to know Jesus intimately if we are to lead well in the Kingdom (1:21–22)
- Scripture is a wonderful way to frame our prayers in appealing to the character of God. The apostles often quoted the Word to express their hope and expectation for breakthrough, based on what they knew to be true of God (2:14–36).
- The apostles prayed and trusted the Spirit to lead and direct them in every move they made, even with the casting of lots to determine new leadership! (1:24–26).
- The power of repentance invites the refreshing work of the Spirit (2:38).
- The greatest prayer we can offer someone is for healing in the name of Jesus—both for their soul health and their physical health (3:4–6).
- Prayer empowers God’s people to boldly speak the truth of Jesus (3:12–16).
- When we share intimacy with Jesus in prayer, people will notice (4:13).
- Opposition fueled the early believers’ prayers. They did not focus on escape from persecution but rather invited the Spirit to fill them with greater boldness to speak of Jesus. Persecution is a catalyst for the gospel (4:29–31).