When you think about the year ahead, what spiritual priorities will you place before yourself during this time? In order to understand what our priorities should be, let’s look carefully at the things to which the early church devoted itself. These priorities are clearly listed in Acts 2:42. (1) the apostles’ teaching; (2) fellowship; (3) the breaking of bread; and (4) prayer. 

First, I encourage you to be “continually devoted” to the “apostles’ teaching.” I encourage you to read your Bible all the way through this year. Do you think you’re too busy? By reading it aloud for only 15 minutes per day, you can get through it by the end of the year. I would strongly encourage you to make reading the Bible your top priority this year. 

Second, I encourage you to be “continually devoted” to “fellowship.” As you recall, “fellowship” means sharing. Do not think that you can experience true fellowship in your church by simply attending services every Saturday morning and then quickly leaving. In order to share our lives together, we need to be with one another during the week.

Third, I encourage you to be “continually devoted” to “the breaking of bread.” The phrase “breaking of bread” is most likely an allusion to celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The key to any celebration of the Lord’s Supper is a focus upon the death of Jesus Christ for our sins. This year, I encourage you to remember often Christ’s work on the cross. Reflect upon Jesus and remember Him. He alone is the One who can forgive all of your sins. He alone is the One who can strengthen you when temptations come. A look to the cross is what contains the solutions to all your problems. I would strongly encourage you to reflect upon the life of Jesus Christ and the promise of His return. 

Finally, just as the early church members were “continually devoting themselves . . . to prayer,” prayer should be a priority for your life in 2012! 

Do you think prayer is important for your life? Is prayer a priority for you? The essence of being a Christian is knowing God. When Christ transforms a heart, He also places in it the desire to know Him and to commune with Him!

The early church members were continually devoting themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42). Some translations point out that the word used here in verse 42 is not “prayer” but “prayers.” The early church was “continually devoting themselves . . . to prayers.”

Let me give you three simple ways to pray. These are not mind-boggling; they are simple and straightforward. But I trust that they will be good for your soul to hear as you evaluate your priorities for 2012.


After Jesus returned to heaven, the disciples gathered together, unsure about what the future would hold for them. They were depending upon the Lord in every way (Acts 1:14). They were united in their purpose of prayer, praying with one voice to God. The church was praying together. 

We see the same thing in Acts 4:23- 24; 12:2-5. The church was laboring in their prayers. The church was passionate in their prayers. These are but a few of the examples we have of the early church praying together. We could look at many others. For example, the leaders of the church at Antioch were praying together (Acts 13:1-3). The elders of the church at Ephesus were praying together (Acts 20:36). The church at Tyre prayed with Paul, and the Bible specifically states that wives and children were included (Acts 21:5). The point of our text is obvious: As a church, we ought to pray together

Will 2012 be a year when you commit yourself to praying with the church?


Let us examine Acts 9:11. This is the story of Saul of Tarsus. While on his way to Damascus to pillage the church, he was wondrously converted. You remember how “a light from heaven flashed around him” (verse 3) and blinded him (verse 8). You remember how Jesus appeared to him and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (verse 4). Saul was led by the hand into Damascus, where he neither ate nor drank (verses 8-9). Then, the Lord appeared to Ananias and said, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying” (Acts 9:11).

Saul was now a converted man who was praying to the Lord. The Lord told Ananias to go see Saul, precisely because he was praying. We can only guess that Saul was praying alone. Though he was in the house of Judas, we hear nothing of Saul praying with the household. Saul was praying alone, trying to figure out why he had become blind. 

Acts 9:40 give us another example. Here we see Peter in Joppa attending to a disciple named Tabitha (verse 36), whose name in Greek was Dorcas. Dorcas had died (verse 37). Peter went to her home and found many widows weeping over her death (verse 39). Then verse 40 says, “But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.”

Perhaps it is an obvious point that you should pray by yourself. But I feel that it is necessary to mention because private prayer is the foundation to public prayer. Unless you pray by yourself, your prayers with the church will be fruitless. Praying in public without praying in private is like running a marathon without training. 


Do not think that when you have prayed by yourself and with the church, your task of prayer is done. It does not stop there! Our families need to be prayer centers. I tell you this for your own good. The happiest family is the family that prays together. The most secure family is the family that honors God. The Bible tells us that “those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed” (1 Sam. 2:30).

This year will be successful only if you “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” (Deut. 6:5). Trust daily in His goodness and grace. Look to Christ for your strength. The early church was “continually devoted” to these things. Can we not do the same?

General Conference Ministerial Association