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praying-hands

None of us ever likes to hear the word, “wait.” Nevertheless, that is exactly what Jesus told His disciples to do in Acts 1. He commanded them to wait in Jerusalem until the Father sent His promise of the Holy Spirit to them. In John 20:22, Jesus had “breathed” on His disciples, and said, “receive the Holy Spirit.”

In the beginning, God breathed into humanity the breath of life, and they became living souls. But, after Adam and Eve’s disobedience, we all “died” (Romans 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:22). For God said that in the day they would disobey and eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve would surely die. From that day forward, humanity has been dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). We were spiritually dead.

But, Jesus “breathed” on them, and they became new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old had passed away and all had become new, and we are now the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). The disciples were made new creations that day, and were filled with the Holy Spirit.
But more was to come…not just an infilling, but an empowering! Let’s now read the details of Jesus’ Ascension Day from Acts 1:
“1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,
3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;
5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.
13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

From this account we find that they obeyed Jesus and waited. They as good Jews knew that Pentecost was coming, and they knew that that day would have huge crowds gathered for the celebration. They knew from their history that God on that day had come down upon Mount Sinai in fire and smoke and great thundering and power (Exodus 19). And though they did not know for sure what God was about to do, they knew that the Father was going to empower them to be His witness unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
So, behind closed doors and unanimously, 120 of them all together and in agreement, steadfastly continued and persevered in fervent prayer. And there, in the upper room, they steadily endured for ten days.
We right now are counting up to the commemoration of Pentecost on May 31st. It is nine days away. As we are swiftly approaching that commemoration of the birthday of the church, let us too be in prayer as they were.
Strangely enough, we resemble them more so now than ever before at any other time in history, for just like them, we are shut away. So, let us, like those gathered in the upper room, be unified in perseverant prayer. In a time when the doors of churches have been closed and Christians have been huddling at home and pastors have been uncertain about what to do, let us stand steadfastly in prayer that God would again pour out His Spirit and would again empower His people.
It is amazing that churches across this nation are unanimously agreeing to reopen on May 31st regardless of government mandates. Over 1200 pastors and upwards to 3,000 churches throughout California have signed a “declaration of essentiality,” while thousands of churches (Lutherans, nondenominational, etc) in Minnesota are standing together against their government that has allowed for grocery stores and abortion clinics to remain open this entire time and has now called for bars and restaurants and malls to reopen but not the Church. And a Kentucky federal judge overturned their governor’s order to close churches, deeming there was no “compelling reason” to curtail a church’s freedom to worship. A Baptist pastor in Maryland reflected to a television news journalist that we are in the Last Days, and the Church is supposed to be meeting even more now as the Day of the Lord’s return draws nearer (Hebrews 10:25). And, many pastors, like our American Founding Fathers, have come to a very weighty decision: to obey God rather than man. Not only this, but they are also coming to the realization that these man-made rules are unlawful and unconstitutional, and our rulers are to be held accountable to the law of the land.
Through this unprecedented time in history, God mercifully is calling His people back to His Word, back to prayer, back to full dependence upon Him, that His people might awaken and realize that the time of His return is NEARER now than ever before.
So, I am calling you to prayer, like the disciples in the upper room and in unity with Christians across this nation. Let us pray for God to pour out His Spirit once again, in accordance with His Word in Acts 2 and Joel 2. For He promised that in the Last Days He would pour our His Spirit on all flesh. The Last Days started with the disciples on Pentecost, but we are still in those days and are nearing the end of those Last Days. Over the next 9 days, let us close ourselves away and wait expectantly upon the Lord; let us fervently pray for an awakening, for a revival, for God to move upon His Church once again, and for this land to be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea! (Habakkuk 2:14).

Sources:

“Up to 3,000 California churches say they’ll reopen this month, ban or no ban” https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/05/21/up-to-3000-california-churches-say-theyll-reopen-this-month-ban-or-no-ban/

“Thousands Of Churches Stand Up To Democratic Governors’ Lockdown Orders: We Are Opening. Period.” https://www.dailywire.com/news/thousands-of-churches-stand-up-to-democratic-governors-lockdown-orders-we-are-opening-period/

Pastor Refuses to Stop In-Person Church Services: