- they were all praying;
- they were all filled;
- there was shaking/a great sound - tangible evidence of God's power; and
- the result was speaking with boldness the great things of God;
Thus, we can conclude that extraordinary enabling of believers by the Holy Spirit is not unique to Pentacost, and is necessary in even the very best, the very strongest of churches.
2) Because of who was praying-- Peter and John, just released, went to their friends and prayed with their friends. That word "friends" literally means "their own." It is the same word used when the rulers allow Paul while in prison to be ministered to by "his own," and also the same word used in John 1:11 ("He came unto his own, and his own received him not.) Thus, it was normal, everyday church believers who prayed this prayer. To pray this prayer does not require "apostalic authority"
Now, in our day and age, we may not face such physical threats, but we do face some other, incredible obstacles:
- the anonymnity of our mobile and busy lives;
- entertainment round the clock - we live in a world saturated with entertainment that continually shouts, "Don't think of God... PLAY!";
- we are in a God-ignoring culture; medical technology - Americans don't give much thought to God when they get sick due to medical advances. Elsewhere in the world, poor health is an issue of eternity;
- the church exhibits great weakness in speaking boldly, so we need the extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit.
4) Because of to whom this prayer was prayed-- 5/7ths of this prayer is man telling God who God is. Now, God does not need to know who God is, but we do... especially whn w are aobut to ask God to do something awesome. We need to remind ourselves who He is to give ourselves the courage - and then to know it and believe it completely in our hearts.
What do these believers say about God? In vs 24, they recognize Him as the Creator. In vs. 25-28 (my paraphrase of Piper's paraphrase) they essentially say, "You, God, control everything, even the wickedest deeds of the wickedest men and turn them to be meet for your plan and your purposes to save the world." Read vs. 27 and 28 again carefully to see this truth!
Theology matters - think of the doctrinal truths contained within this prayer: the doctrine of creation, the doctrine of the inspiration of the Word of God (part of Ps. 2 is quoted), the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God, the doctrine of prophesy and its ultimate glorious fulfillment. Yes, accurate theology is important.
5) Because of what was asked for--
- Look upon their threats! Peter and John were told to never speak the name of Jesus again in that city, EVER! The believers are crying out to God, "Look at how they are insulting Your Son!
- Then first, they ask to speak with boldness, that His Word go forth in power.
- Next, they ask Him to heal and do mighty works in the name of Jesus- in other words, to stretch forth His hand and bear divine witness of His Word after and as it was being preached. Why? Because of THE NAME!