Acts on Prayer: What They Never Prayed For

I’d like to end this series on prayer in the Book of Acts with some general observations, and I think the best way to sum up the prayer life of the early church is to look at what they did not pray for.

When they were ordered by the authorities to stop preaching the good news of the gospel, they never prayed for relief. They prayed for strength to do more.

Acts 4:18 “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

Acts 4:24 “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord…” The disciples in the early church after they heard the gag order to stop preaching about Christ.

When they were persecuted and mercilessly beaten, they never prayed for vengeance. They prayed for mercy – on their enemies.

Acts 7:60 “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” — Stephen as he was being stoned to death.

When they were wrongly tried and convicted, they did not pray for justice. They praised God and sang hymns.

Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

Acts 16:26 “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”

In general, the early church never prayed for increased wealth or health. It never prayed for personal success. It seems that when you look at the prayer life of the church in Acts, the focus was never on the temporal. It was always on the eternal. It’s a lesson that those of us in the modern church could stand to learn from.

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