Praying as Community

Click here to read the scripture for today: Acts 4:23-37.

Peter and John have just been interrogated for their faith and belief in Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. They could have easily went back and began a tirade of bashing the religious leaders; but they did something different.

Instead of badmouthing, according to the scripture, they gave an account of what was said. Then they lifted a prayer to God, as a community of believers. Individual prayers to God are powerful; but there is something incredible that occurs when we pray as a group, as a community.

Praying together in a group does not make God hear our prayer more or cause him to take action quicker because we have a group praying. One of the most powerful things that takes place is a group of people, a community, is changed in the heart. That is often more powerful than anything we desire God to do because our hearts, more times than not, are bend toward one goal, and that is not always what God is desiring from us. In order to break into the human heart God patiently waits for an opening of compassion, just a chance.

This is not saying that God working in our lives is completely dependent on us. God is already present and active in our lives. “God coming into our heart” is more of allowing ourselves to be awakened to the already present and working Holy Spirit of God within us. And coming to that realization changes everything about us. Realizing this as a community makes great waves of revival and gives way to more people experiencing the real presence of the Kingdom of Heaven right here, right now.

So what can change when we pray as a community? We understand that everything we have can and should be used in some way to benefit the lives of those around us. Think about that for a minute. Does that make sense? Shouldn’t we be the ones to benefit from what we have? The answer of more of a “yes, and” answer. Yes we benefit for what we have AND we have the opportunity to use what we have to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and make an impact in another life.

I believe this is what the believers experienced. “None of them would say, “This is mine!” about any of their possessions;” but they allowed what they have been entrusted with, by God, to share his love and his grace so no one was left out.

What do you think about all of this? What is challenging for you?

I hope you’ll take time and pray with a group of people, asking God to reveal himself in your life and to guide you to where he is working so you can join him. Does this mean everything will change in the world because of your actions? It means that you and I can be instruments to show and share God’s grace which makes an impact in another person’s life. The entire world may not be changed that quickly; but someone’s world is. And that’s incredible!

Joined Together

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Galatians 3:6-9 Understand that in the same way that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness, those who believe are the children of Abraham. But when it saw ahead of time that God would make the Gentiles righteous on the basis of faith, scripture preached the gospel in advance to Abraham: All the Gentiles will be blessed in you. Therefore, those who believe are blessed together with Abraham who believed.

We are all in search of belonging. Many people look to find fulfillment in passing fads. Others with people who really don’t care about them or make them feel worthless. Still others search for meaning and escape through different methods.

Where do you find your meaning and place of belonging? There have been times where I was searching for where I belonged and I made my identity wrapped up in my job. This is dangerous too, because we are always more than what we do. We are made in the image of God. This is where identity begins.

Look at the people who are surrounded by a community who supports, encourages and builds up. Who is actually more fulfilled? The person who attempts to find themselves in what they do, substances, people who make them feel no value? Or is it the person who is surrounded by a support structure to guide and encourage them through life’s journey?

The answer may seem obvious. (I hope.) This is what we find when we join in the Christian faith. Yes there are people who have been the wrong image and have done acts in the name of God that actually destroyed countless lives; but there are so many others who have professed faith in Christ that are good models and encouragers to help us live the life God calls us to live.

Think about this for a minute. When we profess faith in Christ, we actually are connected with people in the faith as far back as Abraham and Noah. This means that we can read their stories and we are reading about our family. We can see how they failed and how they succeeded. Yet through their failures, God was always with them. This gives me great joy because God is with me, and God is with you, especially when we fail and fall short of the glory of God.

We are children of God and this makes us part of the “blessings” that God promised Abraham. All it takes is childlike faith and trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (we’ll see this tomorrow).

Believing in Christ does bring incredible blessings; but be careful how blessings are thought of. We can lose everything in our life, yet still be the most blessed people because we have Jesus Christ with us and the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

Are you searching for belonging? Faith ties us together with the people of faith before us. Follow their life and notice how God still worked through their life. He is working in your life too!

Praise be to God for this awesome community we belong to. We are free to know that we do not have to live this life alone.

#LiveFreeInChrist