I love Acts 4:31. Luke writes these words about a prayer service gone viral in this powerful passage,
“After they prayed the place where they were meeting was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
There is a nice and neat three point outline in this short, twenty six word verse (sorry, no poem). Here it goes:
1. The building was shaken with the power of prayer.
When’s the last time you and a group of your friends rocked the house with prayer. I contend that most Christians pray like wusses. The result? Wussy churches, wussy Christians and wussy living.
It’s time to man up and pray like God wants us to. What does this kind of prayer look like? It is focused on God (“Our Father”), his purposes (“thy kingdom come”) and asks boldly for requests (“our daily bread”) and forgiveness (“forgive us our debts”).
2. The believers were shaken with the power of the Spirit.
The act of prayer is an act of dependence. We are telling God that we can’t do it and that only He can. This act of faith allows the Spirit of God to take control of us and “fill us” with His power and presence. Why is this vital? Because Jesus made it clear in John 15 that apart from Him we can do nothing. Want to make a difference for Christ on your campus, at your job, in your neighborhood? Then get filled with His Spirit and allow Him to live His life through you. But be warned. His presence will shake everything up.
3. The city was shaken with the power of the gospel.
This is the natural outcome of “power prayer” and getting filled with the Spirit. If you pray, get empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, then, among the many outputs is evangelism. Prayer and proclamation are meant to mix like nitrogen and glycerin. Together they are explosive and dangerous in the most positive way imaginable.
Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons. First of all, I want us all to live this outline personally. Let us start on our knees and finish in the streets. Let us be characterized by passionate building-shaking prayer, his power and the verbal proclamation of the gospel (notice the three p’s? I can’t help myself! I’m OCD over aliteration!) Secondly, let us preach this outline in our youth groups, small groups, campus groups and family groups. This fun little outline communicates what is missing in the 21st Century church today. It’s time to bring it back!
Jerry Lee Lewis you ain’t got nothing on the Holy Spirit! Talk about a whole lot of shaking going on!