Whatever the challenges the early church faced, they were united in their common faith in Jesus and in the truth He had entrusted them to spread to the world. It’s what Peter even called “present truth” (2 Pet. 1:12). And thus, united in the truth, they expressed their unity in a number of ways.
“And they continued steadfastly … in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42, NKJV). This reference to breaking of bread probably refers to a fellowship meal or to regular meals shared between believers. At some point during a fellowship meal, someone would offer a special blessing over the bread and drink in memory of Jesus’ death and resurrection, in expectation of His soon return. Early Christians thus devoted their time to remembering the meaning of Jesus’ life and ministry, and loved to talk about it in fellowship meals. The meals they shared became moments of worship. “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47, NKJV). No doubt this time of fellowship together greatly helped strengthen the sense of unity they had in Jesus.
What examples do we have in the book of Acts of early Christians praying together? What did they pray for?
The early church cherished the opportunity for direct communication with God and never failed to offer up petitions to Him when gathered together in worship. Paul in his First Epistle to Timothy mentions the importance of prayer when Christians are together (1 Tim. 2:1). To the Ephesians, he also emphasized the need of prayer: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – and for me” (Eph. 6:18-19, NKJV).
|What are ways that we can experience a deeper unity through the power of intercessory prayer for common causes? How does this prayer help unite us as a church?|