“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
This verse describes the response of the apostles, leaders in the church to clear needs that were being addressed in the church around them. People were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food and there were widows who were not being provided for. It’s extremely important for the church to provide for widows. We see that in other places in the New Testament. It’s extremely important for the church to provide for those in need. We see that all over the story of the church in the book of Acts.
Lord, please teach us to pray with the kind of devotion we see in Acts 6:4.
Yet in the middle of that, the apostles, the leaders in the church knew that devotion to prayer and the ministry of the word must not be neglected. Kind of makes you think about when Martha was doing all kinds of things to serve Jesus when he was at her home. And Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus and Martha said tell her to get up and do something. There’s all kinds of things that needed to be done. And Jesus said Mary’s chosen what is right, that is good for her to be at my feet, listening to what I am saying.
So in the church there are so many good things that need to be done, need to be done. This was something that needed to be addressed here in chapter six. But we must make sure amidst meeting needs of all kinds, that in the church we do not neglect prayer, devotion to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
I think about my own life and leadership and even the church that I’m a part of. I think that if we struggle in one of these areas, we struggle more in devotion to prayer. Now, we have obviously so much room to grow in proclamation of the word, the ministry of the word obedience to the word in so many different areas. But in our worship gatherings, we spend a decent amount of time in the word, far more time there than we do in prayer.
I think that’s probably the case amidst all kinds of Bible studies and all kinds of activities going on during the week. Are we devoted to prayer? Are you devoted to prayer? Is the church you’re a part of devoted to prayer to where it plays a central role in the life of the church? Not just here or there in a worship gathering, not just to open a meeting or to close a meeting, but people praying who are devoted to it, just as we’re devoted to studying God’s word together.
I think we need to be taught here. I know I need to be taught here. I know the church that I’m a part of needs to be taught here. I think about what I saw in South Korea a few months ago when I was there. Devotion of prayer, people gathering every single morning at 5:00 in the morning to pray, people spending all night on Friday nights praying together. They were devoted to prayer.
God help us to devote ourselves to prayer. I thank you. Oh God, for what you’ve been doing in our midst and our church as we’ve spent all night or late night on Fridays here and there, spending concentrated time in prayer. What you’ve been teaching me, what you’ve been doing in our midst as a result of that. So God take us deeper. I pray that not just for myself, for the church that I’m a part of, but God, for others who are listening to this, for our churches, God help to devote ourselves to prayer, help us not to neglect prayer. God, we pray that amidst all the good things we might do in our lives, in our churches, God, please help us not to neglect that which is most important, the ministry of the word and prayer. God, please teach us to pray with this kind of devotion that we see in Acts 6:4. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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