The members of the early church community devoted themselves to the “Apostle’s teaching,” to “fellowship” with other believers, to the “breaking of bread,” and the fourth thing they devoted themselves to is “prayer.” Their gatherings were not simply social gatherings but they had spiritual content. They shared times of worship where they sang hymns and spiritual songs, they broke bread, they discussed the Bible (the Apostles’ teachings), and they prayed for each other & probably their communities, the unsaved, the message, the messengers and many other things. You will notice also, that they did not do any of these things because they were commanded to. They were simply living out their new identity in Christ. This is simply the way they lived. It was rather spontaneous.

In Acts 6:7, we read, “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” This happened right after the Apostles had appointed others to serve the physical needs of starving members. They were becoming overwhelmed with the demands on their lives and it became increasingly obvious that they could not focus on both the Spiritual needs of the community and the physical needs at the same time. Thus the Apostles called the church together, probably a contingent of recognized leadership, and charged them with assigning various responsibilities to others so they could “devote themselves to the Word of God and to prayer.”

Preaching the Word and prayer are the two most significant responsibilities of the Spiritual leadership of any New Testament church. I sometimes think I don’t have time to pray! I have too many other pressing matters at hand. It often gets pushed to the end of the agenda, but it really should be at the top of the agenda. With the apostles wholly devoted to prayer, study, and the preaching of the Word of God while others attended to the physical needs, the church continued to be blessed. No wonder the number of “disciples multiplied.” Under the Spirit’s quickening power, produced by earnest prayer, God’s word became in reality what the author of Hebrews says it is, “living and active.” The Word of God became effective in arresting, illuminating, convicting, converting, delivering and cleansing many in their community. The Word of God combined with prayer is one of the most important ministries of any church.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer…” Romans 12:10-12