It is the first description of the Christian community gathered. They are basking in the radiance of the resurrection and further emboldened by the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Thousands have heard the Good News and converted to following the way of Jesus and now they gather to be the community, or body, of Christ.
Read Acts 2:42-47. If I could dream up heaven on earth, this most certainly is the feel I would hope to have. A people who gather to learn together; to doing life together as a community; to sharing meals and stories and laughter; to pray with each other and for each other. This was a community that held each other in such a regard that no one among them had need. They were living out the truest sense of community!
Yet this phrase strikes me—devoted… to their prayers. As Anne Lamott has quipped, the greatest of prayers are “Help me, help me, help me” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Were these the prayers they lifted? Or, would they use that phrase that is a bit too cultural and not always substantive “Thoughts and prayers?” Or, in the midst of the wonder that they had experienced in the previous month and a half, were these prayers full of power because their faith was blossoming and the reality of God’s blessings and mercy were tangible?
Whatever the actual reality that happened, our scriptures want us to hear of the powerful moments of our beginnings. It was a power beyond a person’s own that enable such a movement and throughout history, we have seen every great awakening marked first by a people willing to pray boldly for God’s work to be done…and believing it will be! This sobering reality always strikes me with a root question—am I praying out of a place of anticipation and deep faith? Or am I flowing the motions? I dare say there was even a time where I talked about prayer…and never really prayed. An imposter to be sure, until I had nothing left in the arsenal of self-sufficiency except prayer that God would be sufficient!