Praying for Church Planting through the Book of Acts
Having left Berea without Timothy and Silas Paul spent his time engaging with the people in the synagogue and observing the widespread idolatry. Acts 16-19 speak of Paul "reasoning" with those in the synagogue. It's the only time in this book that this word is used to describe his teaching ministry. He was teaching them about Christ is a systematic, persuasive way. Some of the Greek philosophers heard his teaching and wanted to hear more (17:19-20). So they brought him to the Aeropagus, the place were such presentations were made. Paul would give an impassioned speech that began with his new-found knowledge of the cultural idols. So we pray for Spirit-given discernment into the spiritual influences shaping our church plant's neighborhood.
Using the multiplicity of statues to his advantage Paul is able to engage his audience by making known "the unknown god" (17:22-23). He tells them that this God "made the world and everything in it" and that he is the "Lord of heaven and earth" so he "does not live in temples made by man" (17:24). This God is the source of all life (17:25) and humanity (17:26). He is patient, kind, and merciful (17:26). His desire is that all men would come to faith in him as he is close at all to all (17:26-27). In making his point he quotes two separate philosophers: Epimendies of Crete and Aratus. His speech culminates in a call to repentance and an affirmation of Christ's death and resurrection. These Greek philosophers would find the idea of resurrection to be foolish and so "some mocked" (17:32). Despite this vocal resistance there were still those who believed (17:34). So, we pray for the ability to "quote the prophets" of our target neighborhood, creating credibility, and proclaim the Gospel through it, leading to faith.