The fifth book of the New Testament has traditionally been labeled “Acts of the Apostles” because it records the acts–actions–activities of those commissioned by the Lord to continue his work on earth. Although not all the acts of all the apostles are documented, the primary focus of their work falls into two main categories.
Prior to the command to preach the gospel to all nations, Jesus set the example and then commissioned his disciples to pray (Matt. 9:37-38; 21:22; Luke 10:2). As they went on to fulfill what they were directed to do, here is a concise summary statement in their own words: “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4, NKJV). The two fundamental components of their mission, neither to the exclusion or neglect of the other, were (1) prayer, and (2) ministry of the word.
The evangelism textbook of the New Testament is replete with allusions to and examples of prayer (Acts 1:14, 24; 2:42; 3:1; 4:24, 31; 6:4, 6; 8:15, 22, 24; 9:11, 40; 10:2, 4, 9, 30, 31, 46; 11:5, 18; 12:5, 12; 13:3; 14:23; 16:13, 16, 25; 20:36; 21:5; 22:17; 27:29, 35; 28:8, 15). Evidently our first-century brethren understood their activities as God’s work and regularly requested his involvement and solicited his help.
The acts of the apostles were the acts of God. The Great Commission and how to go about fulfilling it have not changed. As we are diligent and faithful in learning, obeying, and proclaiming the word of God, we must also be diligent and faithful in our prayers to God. This is his work. Let us, therefore, “give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
--Kevin L. Moore