I hear a saying or one similar to it fairly often. It typically goes something like this:
“We need to get back to being the church of Acts.”
This saying is usually tied to a need for revival. There is an apparent distancing that we see in our churches today from what we read about in Acts. And with that distancing, there is also a longing to return to what we read about.
I would agree for the most part that there has been a drift that has taken place since the church began in the first century. There is an examination that needs to take place within the church.
As I long for a revival and return of Pentecost power to the church, I see an important thing that was present before it came. At this moment, I want to make clear that there is not any way that we can manipulate the power of the Holy Spirit to show up in our churches. We can make sure that our sails are raised and ready to catch His wind when they choose to blow.
People tend to think about Acts 2:42-47 when they think about the beginnings of the church. That is a great passage that shows what went on in the beginnings of the church. But if one would look closely, one would see that there is something that preceded the falling of the Holy Spirit.
“All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Acts 1:14 ESV)
After Jesus encouraged the believers, He told them to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit.
As they were waiting, they did what they had learned from Jesus – pray.
Pentecost power is preceded by prayer. The early church may not have done everything correct – it consisted of humans just as the church today does. One thing they did do well is that they prayed. When they needed direction, they prayed. When they needed deliverance, they prayed.
It is no coincidence that we see God moving in a mighty way through the early church. They were devoted to prayer. Prayer got the church in line with what God wanted to do. If we want to see the power of Pentecost in our churches, we need to be devoted to prayer and not just tack it on to the beginning and end of our plans. Prayer helps align us with God’s plans. That is where Pentecost power will be seen.