October 16, 2005

Overcoming Prayerlessness

Acts 1:7-14

7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." 12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. 13When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.


"Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." John 16:24

If we want to be light and salt in this world, we need to ask God for help. This seems obvious. But our tendency is to be self-reliant--to focus on tools and techniques, methods and materials. Often we overlook prayer in the process. Jesus identified prayerlessness as a barrier to effective evangelism.

Jesus' first followers had to learn this, and so do we. After receiving their call to be Christ's witnesses and then watching him ascend into heaven, they returned to Jerusalem to pray. Reaping a spiritual harvest always begins with prayer.

The desire to witness, the courage to speak up, the words to share, the person to speak to, the openness of someone's heart to the message--all these things are directly dependent on God's activity. Unless God is involved, nothing spiritually significant will take place. God calls us to humble ourselves and pray for the work of his Spirit.

Trying to witness without prayer is like trying to water-ski in a shallow pond or lake. It's not only foolish; it's dangerous.

So pray regularly for the lost. Pray for them by name. Pray for opportunities to share the good news. Pray for the right words to say. Pray for responsive hearts. Pray for a spiritual awakening.

Lord Jesus, help us to make prayer a priority. Thank you for using us as your witnesses. Give us opportunities to care and to share your love with others. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Dan Jongsma

Daniel Jongsma serves as an interim pastor in Fulton, Illinois. He has pastored congregations in Elmhurst and Fulton, Illinois; in Dearborn, Michigan; and in Nashville, Tennessee. Dan also served as a church planter in the Chicago area. He and his wife, Gloria, have three daughters and four grandchildren.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!