Prayer for Positive Human Interaction
This bible study illustrates three principles applicable to present-day human interactions and relationships.
- God will grant your prayer if your prayer purpose is consistent with his mission.
- Understand and accept the core values and membership responsibilities of an organization you intend to join. Do not rely on finding a way around the values that you don’t accept.
- People may oppose even your good work because they either don’t like it or wish the credit was theirs.
The study focuses on the organization and activities of the Fellowship of Believers, the early church that formed around the apostles to bear witness to the life and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. They performed the spiritual mission through prayer, teaching, healing, and miracles and sustained themselves through communal living, whereby the organization assumed ownership of member’s assets and needs.
A key event in the organization’s history occurred when Peter and John gave testimony of their public trial before the Sanhedrin (full assembly of Israeli elders and leaders) after healing the crippled beggar. The Believers raised their voices together in prayer, asking to be bold and articulate in preaching the gospel and to heal and perform miracles in the name of Jesus. God granted their prayer as soon as they finished praying [Acts 4:23–31].
Positive Human Interaction
To understand, we recall that God granted Solomon’s prayer for a discerning heart to administer justice effectively as king of Israel and David’s prayer to strike down Goliath and cut off his head so the whole world will know that God protects those that worship him. What is common among these prayers is each asked for positive human interaction, i.e., to do something that conveys the image of God to others by making them feel God or know him better. Christ promised to grant such prayers when he said we can ask for anything “in my name” and he will do it [John 14:14]. Asking in his name means asking for a purpose that will advance his mission. The Fellowship of Believers asked for such a purpose and God granted their prayer immediately.
Another significant event in the organization’s history is the experience with Ananias and his wife Sapphira [Acts 5:1–10]. The couple disobeyed a core membership requirement of the organization, which they ought to have understood but probably hoped to cheat around aspects that they didn’t like. Their experience illustrates a principle that joining an organization implies a commitment to the core values and membership obligations and God expects us to honor such commitment.
People May Oppose Even Your Good Work
Another experience of the organization that illustrates a principle of relevance today was the party of Sadducees arresting the apostles and subjecting them to trial before the Sanhedrin because they were jealous of the apostles’ popularity. The Sadducees were among the conspiracy to crucify Jesus. They wished he was forgotten. Instead, they watched his followers thrive, teach about his life and resurrection, and heal the sick and perform miracles in his name. They liked the healing and miracles but wished these were done through them somehow. Their jealousy motivated them to seek severe punishment to the apostles. However, law teacher Gamaliel persuaded the Sanhedrin to leave the apostles alone. He argued that they would fail on their own if their activities were of human origin but will be unstoppable if their activities were of God. The apostles were let go but their experience conveys a message that even good deeds may attract vehement opposition from people that either don’t like them or wish for the credit.
Please join our study of the Fellowship of Believers organization to explore aspects of its experience that illustrate principles applicable to us today.