Our nation has become acutely aware of first responders. When international troubles arise, our first response, as a nation is to create a coalition. We want a coalition because military actions by the world’s most powerful nations are typically carried out as a coalition. The coalition is meant to show a shared agreement among the nations regarding the coalition’s actions.
We can read a first-hand account about a coalition formed against Jesus and then extended against the Church. We find that the Church’s first corporate prayer comes from the Church’s first collision with the very coalition that crucified Jesus.
Today’s passage of Scripture:
Acts 4:27-31 (NIV), Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 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.
Now this coalition, in essence, represented the whole world. The coalition is Herod who represented the rules of the Jews. Pilate who represented Rome. The Gentiles were from many nations that were in Jerusalem because of Rome. No doubt, some of the solders from the Gentiles were the ones that mocked and beat Jesus and thrust a crown of thorns on Christ’s head. Last in this coalition were the people of Israel.
So, what action did the Church take when challenged by the whole world? They prayed. Their first response was to pray, asking God to help them speak the gospel with greater boldness, and with signs and wonders through the name of Jesus.
Obviously, they prayed the will of God. We know this for God shook their meeting place. And, God filled them with the Holy Spirit and God gave them what they asked for.
This pattern has been the will of God both on a personal level for Christians and on a corporate level for Christ’s Church. Prayer should always be our first response, not our last hope. Be a first responder. Pray!