“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When 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. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” – Acts 1:12-14
They were in constant prayer, together. After Jesus ascended into heaven, they joined together and prayed. For how many hours did they pray? Constantly, the Bible says.
When deciding which man to choose to take Judas’ place, what did they do?
“Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen, to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.'” -Acts 1:24-25
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” – James 5:13-16
It’s been too long since I’ve fervently prayed, in the private space of a room, door closed; on my knees, calves burning from the weight of my body, rocking back and forth at times, sitting still at others, face to the ceiling, palms sweaty and open upwards. Lord, I pray you’d forgive me my laziness. Praying everyday, spurts of talking to you here and there, a bit during my quiet time…it’s not enough. When I want to tell a friend something very important, I don’t walk past them saying, “something terrible has happened,” without another word or detail. No, I must sit with them, eyes wide and full, yearning to let everything out, the woes, hurts and pain I’ve been holding inside, all the day awaiting the time I can open myself up and let the ugliness go.
It must be so in the time I spend with God. We can all say we just don’t have time; when we say this, we are speaking as if praying this way is an inconvenience, a disservice, something that takes time away from all the other things we could be doing–even sleeping. It is, truly, an inconvenience. It is, in fact, a disservice. But it is so in another way–we are truly keeping ourselves from intimacy with God when we think this way. We ask so urgently for answers from God, getting frustrated and angry, defeated and weary when we don’t hear from Him. We will continue to feel this way if we do not commit our time to Him.
Sometimes, silence fills my mind and the room. I feel like I’ve said all I need to say, my legs are tired, my knees hurt, I’m sweaty and hot, I feel restless and I just want to get up and leave, go on with my day. Lord, in these times, give me the perseverance to be still. To be still and listen, let my desire to be close to You and obey You be so much stronger and so urgent that I will remain on my knees! Give me that kind of fierceness and intensity, for You. To know You. To obey You. To be with You, always.