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The Scriptorium

Help for Your Prayers

The psalms can help us in our prayers. Acts 1.15-26

The Beginning of the Ongoing: Acts 1 (6)

Pray Psalm 25.4, 5.

Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Sing Psalm 25.4, 5
(Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

Read Acts 1.15-26.

Preparation
1. What did Peter lead the disciples to do?

2. What prompted him in this matter?

Meditation
I think it’s quite possible – we’ll see why in chapter 4 – that those folks in that upper room were praying through the psalms, because, after all, they didn’t know how to pray as they should any more than we do (Rom. 8.26). It’s interesting to note that Peter quotes from the psalms – in the order they appear – to call a pause in the meeting so that the community can take care of some business. Psalm 69 may have caught Peter’s attention and started him thinking as they prayed through it (v. 20). And when they got to Psalm 109 (v. 21), Peter became convinced that the Lord was speaking to him through His Word.

Something wasn’t quite in order. Some further preparations were needed before the Promise of the Father would come.  Peter assumed the lead role here. We might think he’d be a bit gun-shy after his denial. But Peter took the Word of Christ seriously in John 21, and regardless of what others may have thought, he was not going to fail the Lord again. He stepped up to tend and feed the Lord’s lambs, and to set the flock in order for what was about to occur. Even in their prayer (v. 24) it’s possible the people were drawing from their knowledge of Psalm 33.13-15.

Using the psalms to guide our prayers can keep our prayers focused, meaningful, expansive, and sincere. God can use the psalms to speak to us about daily needs, just as He did with Peter and the disciples. We don’t know how to pray as we should, so we need all the help we can get. And the psalms are a powerful resource to enrich our prayers and guide us through our day.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal” (1 Sam. 15.33). Arresting. Shocking. Why are such verses included in Scripture?

But here we have another one of those verses. “…and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out” (Acts 1.18). Why? Why do we need to know this?

Because sin is awful and always has bad consequences. And the person who succumbed to this horrible demise was one of the twelve. One who “was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry” (Acts 1.17).

One who had eaten with them, walked with them, worshiped with them, and learned with them. If this could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.

And for Christians, his style of betrayal is the hardest kind to bear. “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng” (Ps. 55.12-14). One of the family. One of us.

His downfall needed to be rehearsed as a warning to this group of courageous Christians. These are the folks chosen to carry out the Plan, and there was no back-up plan. Their love and protection of one another would be key in disseminating the Gospel. Being of one mind and heart. (Jn. 17.11, 21; Gal. 3.28)

Just as Mary had been chosen to carry Jesus in her womb, these people had been chosen to carry the Holy Spirit in their lives. Into the world. And they needed to get their hearts right before the Lord. And be afraid enough to keep them right for the rest of their lives and ministry.

They were warned. We are warned. Being a vessel of the Holy Spirit is serious business:
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12.31, 32).

Judas’ brutal end, and the psalms, should be help for our prayers!

Prayers to be pleasing and obedient vessels of the Holy Spirit.

Reflection
1. Do you think praying the psalms could improve your prayer life? Explain.

2. Why is it important that we always remember how serious a matter sin is?

3. As vessels of the Holy Spirit, how can we make sure that we are serious about getting the Good News out to the people in our Personal Mission Fields?

Pray Psalm 25.16-22.
Commit your day to the Lord, allowing these verses to guide your requests. Wait on the Lord for a fuller measure of His redeeming and transforming grace.

Sing Psalm 25.16-22
(Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
Be gracious, Lord, to me; my heart is weighed with woe.
My troubles and affliction see; let my transgressions go.

Consider all my foes, who hate me all the day;
and rescue my poor soul lest I should stumble in the way.

Preserve me in Your way, redeem Your people, Lord!
We wait for You and refuge seek in Your own faithful Word.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to our summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by clicking here. For more about what Jesus is doing at the right hand of God, order a free copy of our book, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? (click here).

We’re happy to provide a free companion study to our study of the book of Acts. The Ongoing Work of Christ considers the book of Acts thematically. It is suitable for personal or group use, and you may have a free PDF copy of The Ongoing Work of Christ by requesting it from us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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