Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Kingdom Basics

The Kingdom starts, advances, and ends in prayer. Acts 3.1

The Kingdom among Us: Acts 3 (1)

Pray Psalm 55.16-19.
As for me, I will call upon God,
And the LORD shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.
He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me.
God will hear, and afflict them,
Even He who abides from of old.
Selah

Sing Psalm 55.16-19.

(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Lord, I will call on You, answer and save!
Morning and evening too, my voice I raise.
Grant me Your peace, O Lord; answer my foes!
All who reject God’s Word He overthrows.

Read and meditate on Acts 3.1.

Preparation
1. The Kingdom has come; everything has changed. What are Peter and John going to do in this verse?

2. When do they go to do this?

Meditation
I know this seems like a very slight portion of Scripture for an entire day’s meditation. But there’s much here to ponder, especially when it comes to understanding the ongoing work of Christ as He is supplanting the kingdom of darkness with the Kingdom of Light. What Luke describes in this verse is a single event, one of many he might have chosen, but one that gives us insight to the work of the Kingdom.

We might translate the verb here something like “would go up” or “used to go up.” Luke’s choice of the imperfect verb form, ἀνέβαινον (anebainon), to describe Peter’s and John’s going up to the temple, suggests this was a habitual practice on their parts. They weren’t just going up to the temple at this moment. They were in the habit or had embraced the discipline of going up to the temple like this.

But why were they going up to the temple? Luke explains that it was “the hour of prayer.” As we saw in Acts 1, the Apostles followed the Old Testament practice of praying the psalms. They also followed the Old Testament practice of observing set hours of prayer during the day. Whether the hours of prayer were two, three, or seven is not clear. But this much is clear: The Apostles drew aside at certain hours of the day to join with other believers – or to retreat by themselves (Acts 10.9) – for prayer.

The Kingdom of God comes not only by proclamation, but by prayer (Matt. 6.10). Prayer is basic to the coming of the Kingdom, life in the New Community, and the ongoing work of Christ.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
While checking to see if a or an is the more appropriate article to attend habitual, I read the clarifying sentence. Look at what they used: He was found to be a habitual drug abuser.
FYI, a is now the preferred article. And in their opinion, habitual drug abuse is the best example for it.

That strikes me as sad. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christians were so known for habitual prayer that Merriam-Webster used us as an example?

Here are just a few Biblical references showing how to become habitual:
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed [that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days,
except the king], he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Dan. 6.10). Courageous and consistent prayer.

“As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Ps. 55.16, 17). Persistent prayer.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matt. 5.44). Difficult prayer.

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matt. 6.6) Private prayer.

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26.41). Protective prayer.

“…pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5.17). Continuous prayer.

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray” (Jms. 5.13). Practical prayer.

“…pray for one another, that you may be healed” (Jms. 5.16). Healing prayer.

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Jms. 5.16). Productive prayer.

Truly, if we were performing this Kingdom Basic, we would be the ultimate example of habitual.

Courageous, consistent, persistent, difficult, private, public, protective, practical, healing, and productive prayer—"golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 5.8).

For reflection
1. Most Christians wish they had a better prayer life. Why do you suppose that is?

2. How about your own prayer life? Which of the words in the last paragraph of the Treasure section would you like to have describing your prayer life?

3. Why is prayer the Kingdom Basic for the ongoing work of Christ?

The Jews had appointed two hours for prayer, one in the morning and one in the evening. During morning prayer they sacrificed the burnt offering; during evening prayer the evening offering. Now since by the ancients the day was divided into just twelve hours, this ninth hour is around evening, when we Christians hold vespers. This is when Peter and John entered the temple to pray… Johann Spangenberg (1484-1550), Brief Exegesis of Acts 3:1-2.1

Pray Psalm 55.1-8.
Ask God to remove from you all fear of being His witness. Pray that He will fill you with His heavenly Dove so that you can do the work of the Kingdom for today.

Sing Psalm 55.1-8.
(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Hear now my prayer, O Lord, hide not from me.
Answer me by Your Word and set me free!
Wicked men sore oppress; restless am I.
Lord, ease my soul’s distress and hear my cry!

My heart in fear abides; terror descends.
Horror with me resides and knows no end.
I would escape from here, flee like a dove.
Rescue me from my fear with shelt’ring love.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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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 the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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