Constancy of Prayer

Constancy in Prayer
Reflection by Pastor Scott T. Arnold
First Baptist Church of Los Angeles.  4/14/2021
Acts 1:14  “They all joined together constantly in prayer,  along with the women  and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” 
                God is the original and primary constant. From God we are created and have our being, made in the image of God, and called into covenant with God and one another. Prayer is the vital two-way communion and dialogue between God and us, and our spiritual link with one another. Prayer is central to awareness of God, self-discovery, forgiveness, reconciliation, hope, peace, and love. Faith is the opening activity of our souls that increases our heart to pray, discover, believe, and understand God’s presence and power. The early Christians gathered by our Lord in the upper room of Jerusalem, after his resurrection and ascension to heaven, “joined together constantly in prayer”. They were united in a fellowship of knowing Jesus, each in their own way. They shared the experience of Christ’s life, passion, death and resurrection. Still, each had a unique story of how Jesus had changed them, revealed God’s grace and truth into their lives. Prayer became the “constant”, the unifying element that brought their diverse personalities into focus upon the ministry of Jesus and God’s Spirit.
                The group praying was composed of the men disciples of Jesus and the women disciples of Jesus. The Lord had called people from a diversity of backgrounds, women and men who discovered that they were joined together in prayer.  God had called them to be family, to be brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. The record of those gathered in prayer even included Jesus’ own family, Mary, and the brothers of Jesus (who by this time were also witnesses of His resurrection). 
                What did this constancy of prayer, which Jesus had called them to, result in? There was a moving of readiness, a coming together in this fertile time of waiting. From their trust and dependency upon God to reveal their next steps, to fill them with the Holy Spirit, a community formed that would bless the world. We learn that the process of being constant in prayer is rewarded by God’s grace outpoured. God’s truth and reality fills us with an experience and dwelling that becomes immanent and transformative.  
              For us, this matter of being “constant in prayer” is vital in being the Body of Christ. We are “joined together” through prayer.  The diversity of people in the Church then, and now, is a beautiful and fragile thing.  May we learn to grow together as the Body of Christ, in prayer and service daily.
              May we pray for God’s wisdom and strength, vision, and sustenance.  “Give us this day, our daily bread…”  “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”.  Amen.
   Pastor, Rev. Dr. Scott T. Arnold

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