Un #6 Unquenchable Prayer
It’s hard to pin down just one passage in Acts that showed the unquenchable nature of the early disciples’ prayer lives. When the Spirit came upon them in Acts 2 they had been praying for ten days in the upper room. They continued the prayer service for 26 more chapters. Their prayers were unquenchable and faith filled. They believed in God. This same Jesus that gave them unthinkable goals would help them reach these goals as they continued to get fueled by Him through unquenchable prayer.
I love the words of the great prayer warrior George Mueller, “I live in the spirit of prayer; I pray as I walk, when I lie down and when I rise, and the answers are always coming.”
It is this kind of ancient church, unrelenting prayer that we are called to participate in. I’m not talking about a prayer service that we go to once a week. I’m talking about an ongoing prayer service that we live and breathe every second of everyday. We are called by Paul in Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing.” The Greek word for “without ceasing” is the same word used to describe a hacking cough. When you have a bad cold you don’t have one cough throughout the day that never stops. You have several coughing attacks throughout the day, throughout the hours of that day. It is consistent, not constant. In the same way we are to pray throughout the day. We are to pray in faith. We are to have prayer “attacks” consistently.
You want revival? There is a price to pay on your knees.
Un #7 Unbelievable Work Ethic
Hard work. Those two words seem foreign to a culture obsessed with quick and easy. That’s why I’m glad that I roofed for eight years before I got into ministry. There’s nothing like the grit and grind of manual labor to give you a new outlook on how “hard” ministry can be.
The early disciples were no slackers. Listen to the words of Paul mocking those false teachers who claimed to have the truth, “Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.” 2 Corinthians 11:23
In his first book to the Corinthians he used a sporting analogy to describe the work ethic he brought to his “job”:
“I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” I Corinthians 9:23-27
In Acts 18 the Great Apostle Paul went back to tentmaking in Corinth and preached on the weekends to show the early believers what kind of hard work they should do to advance the kingdom and feed the poor. He wanted to show them how to sweat for Jesus in the “real world” so that God’s kingdom may come and God’s will could be done on earth as it is being done in heaven!
You want to see revival? Get ready to do some nuckle bustin’ or don’t even bother showin’ up.
Un #8 Unparalleled Organization
You can see in Acts 6 when the early disciples appoint deacons to “wait on tables” (AKA “oversee the distribution of food to the poor widows in Jerusalem) that these apostles of Christ were going organize for effectiveness. They would devote themselves to prayer and the teaching of the Word so as to not get disctracted. This is the same organizational structure that they brought to every city they planted churches in. Elders and deacons were set up, elders to oversee spiritual development, deacons to oversee physical needs.
This kind of organization is a big part of what made the early church grow so quick. No committees. No red tape. They had two task forces launched in every church: one to lead the church spritually and the other to take care of the rest.
May we learn from the disciples’ simple yet effective approach to ministry!