“Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk[c] 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.” Acts 1.12-14
Jesus just ascended. We went up into heaven. The disciples had to be encouraged to move on, but now they were moving, and waiting and watching. The text gives us a list of names of who was in attendance. It includes the eleven current disciples, excluding Judas Iscariot who betrayed the Lord and hung himself. It also includes ”the women” along with Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
They have entered what we would call the ”upper room.” They went back into the city of Jerusalem, about a mile from the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley where Jesus ascended. And they went ”upstairs to the room where they were staying.” And this is what they did — the ”all joined together in constant prayer.”
I recall in college, as a new believer, discovering the Christian life, attending contemporary worship services, bible studies and prayer meetings. These had a different flavor then when I was growing up. It was college, lots of people were excited about the Lord, and I attended some early morning prayer meetings on the Baylor campus. Whereas I loved the times of worship and preaching, these early morning prayer meetings were very long, happened in a dark room, and were, as I’ve said ”early”! It took all I had not to fall asleep at the wheel!
I’m thinking the prayer meeting that happened in the upper room in Jerusalem by those closest to Jesus just after they witnessed him going up into heaven was anything but dull. They were of one heart and mind and by joining together in constant prayer, they were anticipating the coming gift of the Holy Spirit which Jesus had promised.
Sometimes we as Christians are boring. Sometimes we pray for long hours in the dark, trying to catch the Spirit. Sometimes we attend camp where kids and youth are praising God’s name with exciting results and amazing movements of his grace. Regardless of where you find yourself worshipping, reading and praying — let it be a gathering worthy of his name. I’m not against early morning prayer meetings — just dull ones! Let the Spirit move and be alive in powerful and passionate ways. Let your gatherings be filled with his love and power.
“O Lord God, you are good. Im currently in Zion National Park, an amazing and impressive part of your creation. I see your imprint upon the landscape, the rivers, the mountains, the wildlife and the people. I see your hand in all places. And I know that you are present. I know that you are here. And even with me and my family, you are not only within us, you are behind us, before us, beside us. Jesus, you are in this place. As I like to say at camp, “The Lord is in the room.” I praise you Father for this outstanding display of your grace. Thank you for intimate moments with the Savior. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your love. At each of our gatherings, make yourself known. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen