October 12, 2017 – The Consistent Prayer Warrior- Pr. Chuck Adams

Scripture:
Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” – Acts‬ ‭1:12-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation:
As our devotions start in on the Book Acts, it’s important that we first understand a little bit about the book, who wrote it and why. It’s clear that Luke, the same Luke who also wrote the third Gospel, is the author. But why did he write it? What is the message that Acts is meant to share? Well, as we study our Bible, we learn that Luke, a Gentile and a doctor, worked and travelled with Paul (Philemon 1:24). In Acts, his message is simple, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, how the good news of Jesus Christ spread and how it spread to the world beyond Jerusalem, especially to Rome. He shared the truth of the Christian Church and ONLY the truth. At the beginning of his Gospel, Luke wrote, “You have heard many things. I am writing this account so that you will know the truth about them’ (Luke 1:4). In Acts, he shared the same message.

Although my devotion focus is (Acts 1:14), understanding that what Luke was saying leading up to Verse 14 is important. Luke wrote that the Apostles returned to the upper room (probably the same upper room that they celebrated the passover meal with Jesus) from the ‘The Mount of Olives, which was a Sabbath day’s walk’ away. What is this? This was the maximum distance that Jews could walk on the Sabbath day; the day when Jews rest. On the Sabbath, they must not walk further than two thirds of a mile.

Here in Verse 13, Luke names all the disciples except Judas Iscariot. But what I found interesting was that in Verse 14, he also mentions the woman (that had traveled with Jesus and the disciples during Jesus’ ministry) and Mary, Jesus’ mom, for what I believe to show that the women were also very important to Jesus, the disciples and the spreading of the gospel as well. With the exception of Mary Jesus’s mom, these women had travelled to Jerusalem from Galilee with Jesus and his disciples (Luke 8:2-3, 23-55). 

In Acts 1:14, we see the disciples, Jesus’ followers, and even their families were constantly and CONSISTENTLY coming together in groups; joining together in constant prayer. They were told by Jesus to wait, to “…not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”” (Acts‬ ‭1:4-5‬), and so while they waited, they spent their time being productive; in constant and CONSISTENT prayer and commune with God. Because of their CONSISTENCY, their constant prayers paid off as they prepared for their ministry… being Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world. They literally were doing what the scriptures say, staying CONSISTENT and “Praying without ceasing”.

Application:
As I studied today’s scriptures for this week’s Thursday Pastoral Devotion, I found it to be a great opportunity to build on the last two weeks studies on “Prayer and Being a Strong Prayer Warrior of God”. Today’s scripture from the Book of Acts (Acts 1:14) is a great teaching on “Consistency with Prayer” or being a “Consistent Prayer Warrior”. We all should be praying to God and talking with Him daily in one way or another but are you called to be a Prayer Warrior as a ministry in your church? Do you find yourself to be weak in the area of praying consistently? Doing your devotions… daily? I ask that because even pastors struggle with time and I myself struggle often with being “consistent” with my daily prayers and daily devotions. I’ll be the first to admit that this is one weakness I struggle with often, more than I’d like to admit : Time and Consistency or, should I say, staying consistent. “I don”t have time!”, “I’m too busy!”, “I got to work!”. Here are some good ones…. “I’ll do it after the (football) game” or “When I get back from the golf course.” The truth is, these are all excuses. I’ve found out through personal experiences, with personal goals, like weight loss, that in my daily devotions and staying consistent with Prayer to God, any excuse will work! The truth of the matter is that it is easy to get out of routine or not even get into a routine if we have a little black book full of excuses. The next thing you know, after all the excuses, it has been several days since I have done anything significant or I have lost contact with God. Believe me, we all go through these times, including my devotions and prayer life too. I have good intentions; we all do. I start and make a promise to be on time next week (right Pastor Noleen?, lol), and next week rolls around and I’m late again. I  had good intentions but there’s still the excuses and believe me, my book is fat. Good intentions will not get us very far. In fact, they will stop you dead in your tracks. But CONSISTENT prayer, even if its while driving in your car, riding up an elevator, or any other down time, it will keep us on track or get us on track almost like a “good” habit. God loves to hear from us and He loves top bless us. All we need to do is “STAY IN TOUCH”.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for who you are and I give You all the glory. You have been a constant presence and light in my life…. MY LIGHTHOUSE. I ask you, Lord, to help me be consistent in my life for you and only you. Help me to be constant in prayer, study, and ministry. Help me to be Consistent with my devotion times because I know that this is when you are speaking to me… teaching me. Help me also to have the strength and consistency in other areas of my life as well that keeps me productive and healthy. Lord, thank you for our good intentions but teach us. Help us, Lord, to realize that it takes more than good intentions, that it takes CONSTANT and CONSISTENT communication with you and that leaning on You always will be the only way to work through our excuses. Give us the courage, Lord, to toss our book of excuses so we will be better to do what is important and that is always being consistent with our prayer and devotion life; in constant touch with YOU. With this as always, I give YOU all the glory. In Jesus Name…AMEN