Whatever happened to the ways of the early Church? Have we become too comfortable, too busy, too “reasonably reserved” – my daughter’s definition of shy 🙂 – to meet together as they did in the pages of the book of Acts?
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” ~ Acts 1:14a
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” ~ Acts 2:46-47
With one accord they continued in prayer and supplication. With one accord they taught in the temple, fellowshipped at one another’s houses over simple meals shared with gladness and “singleness of heart” – hearts of one accord – praising God. And the Church was noticed favorably by those seeking the truth, and their number grew daily.
Now, I realize in this day and age, that meeting daily for a meal, prayer, and fellowship is not feasible. But what if we met weekly? Monthly? Bi-monthly? What then?
Look at this prayer of the Church, after Peter and John had been threatened by the ruling authorities for teaching about Jesus:
“So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: “Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ.” For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” ~ Acts 4:24-31
They cried out to God with one accord, not asking for deliverance, protection, or provision, but instead acknowledging His character, power, and control over all of Creation and history, and then asking for boldness to continue speaking His word and working His signs and wonders. WOW.
Did they have any idea that their boldness would eventually lead to martyrdom for many, Stephen being the first recorded only a few chapters later?
Would that have changed their prayer? I don’t think so. Would that change ours? Something to ponder… It is good that we don’t know what the future holds.
I am ashamed to admit that if I were in that situation, I would be prone to first and foremost request deliverance, protection, and provision before acknowledging WHO God is and asking for the strength and boldness to continue serving Him in the manner which I have been called. Oh LORD, change my heart!
Recently I had the blessing of meeting with a group of believers in a way like the Church of Acts. Though several different denominations were represented, we were all with one accord, fellow servants of Christ, encouraging one another, enjoying fellowship over a shared meal in someone’s home, praising God and praying together. It was simple and wonderful. With one accord.
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” ~ Philippians 2:1-4
May God give us the boldness to go out into all the world and serve Him with one accord!
* My husband recently taught through the book of Acts in his Sunday School class. Here are a few links to his blog you may enjoy: