Many Christians feel uncomfortable publicly sharing their faith. Various reasons are given for this but their reluctance typically boils down to insecurity about what others will think. This passage shows that when we display our convictions – in this case by openly worshiping the Lord – not everyone will respond but most will respectfully listen. A lack of confidence is a poor reason to withhold the key to eternity.
Dedicating someone to the Lord’s work is not only a privilege; it’s a vitally important task. No one whose life is fully devoted to serving God – whether they are a pastor, a missionary, a Christian teacher, or are otherwise engaged in full-time ministry – will fully succeed without the regular, interceding prayers of fellow believers.
Prayer and the Divine providence are closely related. They stand in close companionship. They cannot possibly be separated. So closely connected are they that to deny one is to abolish the other. Prayer supposes providence, while providence is the result of and belongs to prayer. All answers to prayer are but the intervention of the providence of God in the affairs of His people. Providence has to do specially with praying people. Prayer, providence and the Holy Spirit are a trinity, which cooperate with each other and are in perfect harmony with one another. Prayer is but the request of men and women for God through the Holy Spirit to interfere on behalf of those who pray. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
In this passage we see clearly that the redeeming blood of Jesus was shed for Jews and Gentiles alike. Peter, as an observant Jew, would not have touched the creatures he saw in the vision because they were unclean according to the Mosaic law. Likewise, he would not have entered the home of an “unclean” Gentile to share the Gospel message. God was correcting Peter, and revealing to us, that all who call on the name of Jesus are cleansed and made whole.
This may be said as truly of prayer as it is said of the God of prayer. The mysteries of death have been fathomed by prayer, and its victims have been brought back to life by the power of prayer, because God holds dominion over death, and prayer reaches where God reigns. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
To forgive those who abuse you – even to the point of murder – is an act that we first witness in the loving words of Jesus as He hung on the cross. What He was able to do as God, we are capable of by the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember, we are all sinners and the mercy shown to us by God will reflect the generosity we demonstrate to others.
The benefits, the possibilities and the necessity of prayer are not merely subjective but are peculiarly objective in their character. Prayer aims at a definite object. Prayer has a direct design in view. Prayer always has something specific before the mind’s eye. There may be some subjective benefits which accrue from praying, but this is altogether secondary and incidental. Prayer always drives directly at an object and seeks to secure a desired end. Prayer is asking, seeking and knocking at a door for something we have not, which we desire, and which God has promised to us. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
The Church more than ever needs profound convictions of the vast importance of prayer in prosecuting the work committed to it. More praying must be done and better praying if the Church shall be able to perform the difficult, delicate and responsible task given to it by her Lord and Master. Defeat awaits a non-praying Church. Success is sure to follow a Church given to much prayer. The supernatural element in the Church, without which it must fail, comes only through praying. More time, in this busy bustling age, must be given to prayer by a God-called Church. More thought must be given to prayer in this thoughtless, silly age of superficial religion. More heart and soul must be in the praying that is done if the Church would go forth in the strength of her Lord and perform the wonders which is her heritage by Divine promise. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
In the ancient Jewish community, prayers were observed three times each day: morning, or 9:00; afternoon, or 3:00; and evening, or sunset. This verse refers to the 3:00 gathering. Setting times for prayer each day establishes an important pattern and nourishes the soul just as regular meals feed the body.
Community worship is an action that involves teaching, hymn singing, prayer, fellowship, meditation on God’s Word, gathering at the Lord’s Supper, and preparing to go into the world to share the Gospel. The early church gathered eagerly and often for this purpose, as have believers throughout history, for support, encouragement, edification, and praise. To gather together in the name of Lord is not only a vital and joyous privilege, it’s a rehearsal for the eternal feast all believers will share in heaven.