12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk[a] from the city. 13 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. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
This short passage has a lot to say about relationship.
The disciples have just returned from speaking with the risen Jesus (intensely relational). He has just promised an even deeper relationship as his Spirit comes to live, not just with them, but in them. And he has promised to return as he completes the restoration of all creation into that right relationship with God for which it was created.
It’s hardly surprising that they are so focussed on expressing that relationship in prayer – constantly. But its significant how they were united together in prayer, especially when you think what a diverse group they were: a tax collector (Matthew) and zealot (who wanted to be rid of the Romans and their taxes); men and women (at a time when women were not always respected); including Jesus’ family (who had not supported his ministry at the beginning – they thought he was “out of his mind” in Mark 3:21).
Individual prayer with God is powerful and profoundly enriching, but prayer together is even more so. We are constantly told to pray together (Matthew 18:18-19) and to pray for each other (1 Timothy 2:1). Prayer is intensely relational: it expresses that wonderful relationship both with God and between his people. I sometimes find prayer hard work, but it’s really a truly wonderful gift.
Thank you, Lord, that you allow me to come into your presence in prayer knowing that you’re waiting in eager anticipation. Thank you for the wonderful brothers and sisters who pray with me and for me. Give me your heart to bring my brothers and sisters into your presence.
Written by David Cornell