Peter Leads The Prayer Meeting

A young man, a Christian, went to an older believer to ask for prayer. “Will you please pray that I may be more patient?” he asked. The aged saint agreed. They knelt together and the man began to pray, “Lord, send this young man tribulation in the morning; send … More

Prayer
After the Lord Jesus ascended Peter became the recognized leader of the disciples. He was bothered by the empty space left by the treachery and suicide of Judas, and had decided that someone must replace the missing member of the Apostolic ranks. With this mind a prayer meeting was called in the Upper Room. We are told that the number of the disciples was about 120 (v. 15). These 120 simple folk were told to go out and evangelize the whole world. If ever anything began from small beginnings, the Christian Church did. Since there were about 4,000,000 Jews in Palestine, this means that fewer than 1 in 30,000 were Christians. We may well be the only Christians in our shop, our factory, our office, in our circle. These men gallantly faced their task, and so must we; and it may be that we, too, will be the small beginning from which the kingdom in our sphere will spread.

In addressing these 120 of the Lord’s followers in the Upper Room, Peter proceeded to give a full description of the suicide of Judas (vv. 16-19). Peter believed that the person who took the place of Judas should be a man who had intimate personal knowledge of the Lord from beginning to end (vv. 20-22). Evidently there were several who qualified, but after a sifting process, just two people were left, Justus and Matthias (v. 23). We know nothing of these two men beyond their names. These believers prayed not for the Lord to choose, but that the choice He had already made be made known to them (vv. 24-25). The two names were then put on lots (probably small stones) and shaken out of a container (v. 26). The first lot to fall out was considered the Lord’s choice, and Matthias got it. This was in accord with Old Testament practice (Proverbs 16:33). With the coming of the Holy Spirit this practice is no longer necessary for Christians.

Application

What part does prayer have in this passage? I want to make prayer one of my special projects this coming year. I know that it is one of the weakest areas in my spiritual life.

Acts 1:15-26 (English Standard Version)

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) "For it is written in the Book of Psalms, "'May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it'; and "'Let another take his office.' So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us--one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection." And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

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