What would you like to see God do in your life? Heal your marriage? Bring your children to salvation? Break a stronghold? Return a wayward child? What would you like to see God do in your local church?
Over and over again when the early believers wanted God to do something, they prayed. And when they prayed, God showed up. We see this clearly in Acts 2. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came and amazing things began to happen. For example, the Galilean Jews spoke in the language of each visitor to Jerusalem that day. These Galilean Jews were considered to be uneducated, yet they spoke other languages. What happened that day in Jerusalem can only be described as an act of almighty God. You see, when God’s people pray He shows up and He shows out.
In Acts 2, Peter preached the gospel and once again, God showed out! “When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?” “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them” (Acts 2:37-38, 41). God showed out when about 3,000 became believers in Jesus. In fact, God continued to show out by growing His church (Acts 2:47; 5:14; 11:24).
Following the massive baptism, Luke tells us that “many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles” (Acts 2:47). For example, Peter and John healed a lame man (Acts 3:1-8). Later on, Peter prayed and God showed out by raising Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:40). There were many occasions where God showed out by empowering the apostles to perform many wonders and signs.
In Acts 12, Peter was in prison. Luke tells us that “prayer was being made earnestly to God for him by the church. On the night before Peter was to be executed, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke him up and said, “Quick, get up!” Then the chains fell off his wrists” (12:5-7). God’s people were praying and God showed out by releasing Peter from prison. Later on in Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in jail. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose” (16:25-26). Again, God’s people were praying and God showed out.
In the early church, time and time again, God’s people prayed and God showed up and showed out. In his book, The Church God Blesses, pastor Jim Cymbala writes, “every time people really pray, they are believing that God by His divine power can change what is into something better.” He goes on to write, “we can all accomplish more for God’s kingdom than we have ever dreamed if we learn the secret of asking the Lord to stretch out His hand and do what only He can do in our midst.”1
Believers in the early church really prayed. As a result, God showed up and showed out. He did what only He could do. What God did then, He can do again! He’s the One who can grow His church. He’s the One who can perform miracles in people’s lives. He’s the One who can set captives free. Do we want God to show out in our lives? If we do, then we must pray because what God did then, He can do again.
1Cymbala, Jim. The Church God Blesses (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), p. 8, 17.