Speaking to the Soul – June 4

Expectant prayer

Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying…They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. Acts 1:12-14

The days between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost were filled with prayer. The disciples knew that they had to wait and they didn’t want to do this alone. We read that they met together in an upper room, which may well have been the place where they had gathered for the Last Supper. What matters is that they were together and it is interesting to note that the eleven disciples were joined by Jesus’ mother and his brothers. While we know little about his brothers, John records that, prior to his death, they did not believe in him (John 7:5).

What an amazing time of prayer it must have been! Jesus had told them that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on them but hadn’t informed them when this might happen. They simply had to wait in expectation, with the confidence of knowing that God had a perfect plan. In one sense prayer is always like this.

Although we live in the privileged days of the Spirit, whenever we pray there is much that we do not know. We only partly know God’s plans for our lives, our church and our world. As we pray, we open ourselves afresh to the breath of God’s Spirit and invite him to meet with us.

Prayer is the privilege of every Christian and we will often pray by ourselves. But there is something very important about praying with our Christian brothers and sisters. Jesus said: “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). As we pray together the risen Lord Jesus Christ stands with us, strengthening and inspiring us. What could be more exciting than that?

Why is waiting so important in our Christian lives?

Gracious Lord, teach me more about the importance of expectant prayer, and help me to treasure the opportunities you give me to pray with my Christian brothers and sisters. Amen