Acts 2:42 is a summary statement of the first few weeks of the aftermath of Pentecost. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (KJV). I now move on to the fourth item, prayers. This can be understood in two ways, as some translations use the term "and the prayers," that is, ritualistic or commonly repeated prayers.
First, we can take it as it reads in the KJV. There is no question that the original twelve disciples knew what it meant to pray. Take, for example, the passage where they asked Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). He immediately answered, "When you pray, say..." and gave them what the Church calls the Lord's Prayer but is better called the Disciples' Prayer.
In the same chapter Luke records the promise of prayer, "And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened" (verse 9,10). What comfort this triple assurance of answered prayer gives us!
On numerous occasions, Jesus plainly said to his disciples, "Pray!" He himself spent time alone with God in prayer, so the example and exhortation to pray was constantly present. Jesus also taught how not to pray. In Matthew's account of the Luke 11 incident, we read, "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward... And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words" (Matthew 6:5,7). I'm reminded of D.L. Moody who had asked a man in a service to pray, and he prayed around the world a couple of times. While he was still praying, Moody got to his feet and said, "While our brother is finishing his prayer we'll sing the closing hymn!" I've heard plenty of those kinds of prayer. Read More