Corporate Prayer – Acts 21:1-5

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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In 1857, America was riding a wave of a strong economy. As is typical in prosperity, there was a radical decrease in interest for the things of God. In September, Jeremiah Lamphier decided to call a weekly prayer meeting in NYC from noon to 1:00 p.m. The first week, six people showed up at 12:30 p.m. Attendance jumped to 20 the next week and rose in weeks to come. On October 10th, the Stock Market crashed and financial panic ensued. It wasn’t long before 10,000, then 50,000, businessmen were meeting every day in NYC for prayer. By 1858, these prayer meetings, which resulted in hundreds of thousands reportedly trusting Christ, jumped to every major American city. And it all started with corporate prayer.

When the Apostle Paul left the elders of Ephesus, “…he kneeled down and prayed with them all” (Acts 20:36). After coming to Tyre and finding sweet fellowship with a band of disciples, they “through the Spirit [told him] that he should not go up to Jerusalem” (Acts 21:4). This was the first of three warnings in this chapter, from God’s Spirit, for Paul to avoid the trouble awaiting him in Israel’s religious center. The second was from the prophet Agabus (vss. 10-11), and the third from the household of Philip and Paul’s entourage (vs. 12). What we don’t want to miss from these chapters in Acts is a consistent practice of corporate prayer. When the saints of Tyre realized Paul was determined to go to Jerusalem, they accompanied him to the ship, “…and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed [together]” (vs. 5). They were committing him to Lord in prayer and asking for God’s enablement. When the elders of Ephesus sorrowed, knowing they would not see Paul again, they corporately prayed together, effectively committing him to the Lord. Just prior to a demonic attack, Paul prayed with the saints in Lydia’s home (Acts 16:14-16). When the saints at Antioch ordained Paul and Barnabas for their unique ministry, they did so while collectively practicing prayer for their ministry. Similarly, the Jewish kingdom church practiced corporate prayer for their needs, and God richly blessed with divine intervention (Acts 13:1-3).

The repeated listing of these practices of prayer is placed here “for our learning” (Romans 15:4). The Lord would have us learn the importance of constantly practicing corporate prayer, in all circumstances, and in all places. Join with another believer in prayer today.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."