Bible Verse: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31)
Scripture Reading: Acts 3:1-4:4
A person can have a genuine love for Jesus, care about people, learn a simple presentation of the gospel, and encounter opportunities, but still not be effective in witnessing. Even a cursory study of the book of Acts reveals that both prayer and the Holy Spirit are very much linked to finding power for witness.
Acts 3 tells us that Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray at three in the afternoon, indicating that the early Christians continued the Jewish habit of praying at least three times a day. At that moment, by the power of God, Peter healed a lame man. After a large crowd had gathered, Peter seized the opportunity to preach Christ, and many put faith in him. Clearly, God used the miracle of healing and the preaching to convert a large number of people – but we dare not overlook the fact that the men God chose to use happened to be on their way to a prayer meeting.
Why should prayer be so significant to the task of witnessing? It seems that God delights to hear and respond to his people as they acknowledge their need for power. Secondly it surely is linked to the fact that God is a prayer-answering God, and he actually hears and works by his power when we ask him to effect the conversion of precious people.
But something even deeper is at work – only God himself has the power to regenerate men and women. We must never forget that while God does use the means of witness and prayer on our part, he alone does the actual work of bringing new people into his kingdom.
Both the book of Acts and the words of Jesus in Luke 24 make it clear that a direct link exists between the work of the Holy Spirit and the task of witnessing. Jesus laid much stress on the importance of the Holy Spirit in providing power for the work of witnessing. When Jesus appeared to the gathered disciples in the evening of the day of resurrection, he gave them their first missionary mandate by saying, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
I wonder what would happen if we, every day, simply recognized the place of the Holy Spirit in giving power to witness. Every day when our feet hit the floor in the morning and every time we are in a group praying, let’s ask for the promised power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission given to us by our Shepherd.
— Royal Hamel in Unmuzzle Your Inner Sheep: Liberating Believers to Share Jesus ©2013. Used by permission.
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