Category Archives: Prayer

Prayer in the Early Church – What Were They Praying for and What Can We Learn from Them?

What can we learn from how the early church prayed? We can learn so much! As I have gone back through Acts and the Epistles I have looked for some common threads and themes that come up over and over again. Here is what I found.

The early church prayed together regularly. We see it in the narratives of Acts. Prayer comes up dozens of times in Acts. We see the regularity in Acts 2:42 – “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

We see it all over Paul’s instruction – not just that he instructs the Christians in the first century to pray in a lot of verses (which he does) but that he also instructs them to pray with great regularity:

  • Romans 12:12 – be faithful in prayer
  • Eph 6:18 – ” “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. “
  • Col 4:2 – “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
  • 1 Thess 5:17 – pray continually

God really wants his people to be in constant prayer, together. These instructions aren’t written for individuals but for churches. He is instructing them to pray together. We read this as individuals making individual application and we largely miss the point.

There are also common threads in regard to what you find them praying for. This can be summed up in three categories

1 – Bold proclamation

  • The prayer at the end of Acts 4
  • 2 Thess 3:1 – prayer request for bold gospel proclamation
  • Eph 6:19 – prayers for bold gospel proclamation
  • Col 4:3-4 – prayers for bold, clear proclomation

2 – Praying from great difficulty

  • Acts 4 – prayers following persecution
  • Acts 12:5 – prayers for Peter when he was in jail
  • Acts 16:25 – Paul and Silas in jail, they are singing and praying

3 – Praying for leadership, particularly at times of transition

  • Acts 1:24 – the replacement of Judas
  • Acts 14:23 – the appointment of elders

We can learn a lot from watching and listening to the early church pray. Our churches need to be in prayer for more often than they are. Meaningful revival always starts with prayer. We shouldn’t forget that. We must be in prayer regularly as a church body for our leadership, for our bold proclamation and for direction in difficult times.

Jesus Teaches His Disciples to Pray By His Example

Jesus is our teacher. We follow his curriculum. We do that by studying the gospels to learn to follow Jesus from Jesus himself. When we do that we see that prayer was an extremely important part of their (and our) walk. As with most things Jesus taught on prayer in two main ways: his exampleContinue Reading

Not All Repetition is Vain Repetition – Developing a More Vibrant Prayer Life

There were certain things I knew not to do growing up. There aren’t too many lists doing drugs and praying the Lord’s prayer both appear on but this was one of them. The Lord’s prayer wasn’t really to be prayed verbatim because that was “vain repetition” and Jesus said not to do that. One stepContinue Reading

Learning to Talk With God

Raising kids makes for some fun and challenging times. One of the things that we feel is essential to their growth and maturity is how to talk with adults. There are basic rules of civility that we want our kids to know and do when it comes to talking with adults, for example – lookContinue Reading

Praying 50 Times a Day

It seems any good prayer plan has you setting aside three or four times a day to pray. Somehow this just never works out. What I have realized is that this is like telling me that I have to set aside three or four times a day to talk with Missy. I hope I talkContinue Reading

Praying Scripture

I just posted something that will be of interest to some of you on praying scripture over at Wineskins — “Bono Gives us a Lesson on Praying the Psalms” Try out the exercise at the end of the post and see how it works for you.

The Prayer Jesus Told Us to Pray that Too Few of Us Pray

If you have a few minutes please read my post over at Wineskins today. It was a big lightbulb/aha in my thinking yesterday on prayer and evangelism. The Prayer Jesus Told Us to Pray that Too Few of Us Pray

Jesus Prayed

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles…” – Luke 6:12-13 I am humbled by this verse. Jesus had a big decision to make andContinue Reading

Praying for the Lost is the Gateway to Evangelism

Not everyone is comfortable having a Bible study with a non-Christian. Everyone is able to pray for lost people. Start with what people can do and are willing to do and eventually they will be willing to try new things. If they are willing to write a note to a new person, ask them toContinue Reading

The Prayer I Woke Up Praying

I rarely ever wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep. Missy will tell you that once I lay down in bed it is not uncommon for me to fall asleep in mid sentence. I sleep hard. But last week I woke up around 4am and just couldn’t getContinue Reading


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