Spirit & Truth # 288
“The Prayer That Shook the House”
By Greg Smith
Right now, many churches are preparing for revival. In Acts chapter four, the disciples needed an earth-shaking revival. The church was still young, yet the persecution it had undergone was frightening. Miracles and preaching landed Peter and John into prison for their religious “crimes.” They were ordered by the priests and elders not to preach in Jesus’ name anymore.
24 When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, "Master of all, you who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them, 25 who said by the Holy Spirit through your servant David our forefather, 'Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot foolish things? 26 The kings of the earth stood together, and the rulers assembled together, against the Lord and against his Christ.' 27 "For indeed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 to do as much as your power and your plan had decided beforehand would happen. 29 And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage, 30 while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." 31 When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously. (Acts 4:24-31 NET)
What can we learn from this prayer that shook the house? What kind of powerful prayer was this, that prompted God’s rumbling response to their words? If you’re in need of personal or congregational revival, then you need to know.
First, in verse 24, they recognized God’s sovereignty over all creation. They did this by returning to Psalm 24:1, which emphasizes the union of all things in God’s hand. Heaven, earth, and sea are a trinity representing all things beautiful, all things mundane, and all things unknown and fearful. All things—all things—are in God’s control.
Second, in verses 25-28, they remembered God’s hand in the course of human history. Even those painful experiences we have are part of God’s plan. If you want revival, then you have to see God at work in all your experiences that have led you up to this moment. This moment is the culmination of all the events of your life, and God wants to revive you today.
Third, in verse 29, they acknowledged their fear in the face of very real threats. Yet they did not pray for deliverance of protection. Instead, they prayed for boldness to speak God’s word in the face of adversity. Note that they asked for the power to do one thing only. They left healings, signs, and wonders to God. They didn’t pray that they would be excellent church administrators or strategists. They asked God for power to do one thing well.
Fourth, in verses 30, they expected God to do life-changing, miraculous things among His people. They also acknowledged Jesus, and not themselves, as the source of this power. If you want revival, you must expect revival from our powerful Lord.
God’s response in verse 31 was to give them an earth-shaking sign that confirmed His presence in both the spirit-filled being (indicated by the word “courageously,”) and the spirit-filled doing (preaching) of the disciples. What is God showing you today, that confirms His presence in your life? How is God shaking your house, in a positive way? Try a prayer that fits the pattern of the disciples’ prayer—and see how God empowers your life.