Acts of the Apostles
Part 1: Foundations for Evangelization
Chapter 3 • Prayer as the Heart of Evangelization (Acts 4:23-31)
What comes to mind when you think of a person who is really pious and prayerful? Are they the type of person who preaches the gospel? Why or why not?
Today we are going to look at the relationship between prayer and evangelization through the story of Sts. Peter and John. In the previous sections of Acts (Acts 3:1-4:22), Sts. Peter and John heal a lame man at the temple and are summarily questioned by Jewish officials and thrown into prison. During this questioning, Sts. Peter and John give testimony to Jesus. The Jewish authorities threaten them and send them away. Following this episode, we get a unique view into the prayer lives of the apostles.
23 After their release they went back to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them. 24 And when they heard it, they raised their voices to God with one accord and said, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them, 25 you said by the holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David, your servant:
‘Why did the Gentiles rage
and the peoples entertain folly?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand
and the princes gathered together
against the Lord and against his anointed.’
27 Indeed they gathered in this city against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do what your hand and [your] will had long ago planned to take place. 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 as you stretch forth [your] hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
- What stood out to you about the prayer of the Apostles?
- How do you hear and see God through prayer?
- What is difficult about hearing and seeing God through prayer?
- How can we use the name of Jesus in our own prayer lives?
- In light of the example of Saints Peter and John, what would you change about your own personal prayer?
*Adapted from FOCUS