In the last few weeks we have focused on being a royal and holy priesthood unto the Lord in the secret place, and a royal and holy priesthood with the Lord’s people in the gathering place. This week we are focusing on being royal and holy priests of prayer and praise to the world in the public place. We are called to come from the secret place (alone with the Lord), into the gathering place (together with brothers and sisters in Christ), then into the public place where a world of hurting, harassed and helpless people awaits a dedicated and devoted people of prayer, praise, proclamation and power.
In Acts 2:42-47, we find the newly-birthed church of Christ Jesus deeply and daily engaged in redemptive activities as they move from ministry place to ministry place, bringing Jesus to people and people to Jesus—declaring and demonstrating His love and power. This presents a compelling example of how to approach each day in the gathering place and the public place.
We find the early church praying fervently. They were steadfastly devoted to the ministry of prayer. There was daily engagement in praying for themselves, one another and those in the world who had yet to come to Christ. They prayed in their homes, at the temple and in the streets just as Jesus had commanded (Mark 16: 15-18). They were engaging in prayer and praise wherever they went because it was greatly needed, and because it was genuinely who they were. This must be our pattern and practice as well. Let us not confine prayer to the secret place and the gathering place; let us unleash its full power in the public place, everywhere we go.
We find the early church praising fervently. Everywhere they went, they were praising God for Who He was and what He had done in their lives. People who had yet to come to faith in Christ noticed, and it undoubtedly played a role in them receiving the gospel as they and others were being added to the church each and every day. These were not “secret saints” nor were they “silent saints.” Prayer and praise was continually on their lips in the public place just as it was in the secret place and the gathering place. The people we encounter every day need to know that our God is great and grand, and that He is good and gracious. And they will as we engage them with the praise on our lips of a loving and life-giving God.
We find the early church portraying forcefully. The authenticity of their witness was unmistakable and compelling. They were accurately portraying Jesus of Nazareth and His saving work in their lives. Their ministry could be received, and their message could be believed, because their lives presented undeniable evidence of spiritual transformation. The favor of God rested on them, and it released favor from all the people. Our portrayal of the Person and work of Christ in the public place must be forceful and arresting. Sad and sullen Christians just won’t do. People need to see vibrancy and victory in our lives in order to receive and believe our ministry and message.
We find the early church proclaiming fearlessly. One of the things that marked the early church was a holy boldness to preach the gospel. Even when many of them were persecuted and driven out of Jerusalem, they went everywhere preaching the word of God (Acts 8:4). These people did not have a private faith. Their faith was very public as they fearlessly proclaimed the truth that had saved them and set them free. The reason the early church grew so rapidly was that fervent, forceful and fearless people took prayer, praise, proclamation and power into the public place. This is what we must do—and do it right away! It is our calling. It is our commission. It is our cause. What begins every day in the secret place must then move into the gathering place and then into the public place where a needy world is waiting.
Remember: When the church of the Lord Jesus moves into the public place praying and praising fervently, portraying forcefully and proclaiming fearlessly, the Lord will add to His church moment-by-moment, day-by-day.