Fifty Days of Prayer | Day 33

PRAYING FOR CHURCH PLANTING THROUGH THE BOOK OF ACTS

After returning to Antioch Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia "strengthening the disciples" (18:23). It was during this time that Apollos had been discipled and sent from Ephesus to Corinth. Paul would come back to Ephesus during his pastoral visits. We're told that he found some disciples who had been baptized in water but not in the Holy Spirit. Some current commentators conclude that the giving of the Holy Spirit was meant to be exclusive to the apostles so that their message and ministry would be validated by the Lord. Others point out that their knowledge was lacking as they had not heard of the Holy Spirit (19:2) and had only experienced "John's baptism" (19:3). I see no reason why it could not be both. Through teaching on the Holy Spirit and Paul's apostolic authority these twelve disciples would receive the Holy Spirit. These twelve would likely become key leaders in the Ephesian church as the Christians there would become a significant gospel witness throughout Asia. So we pray for a Spirit-filled ministry that produces key leaders resulting in powerful witness throughout Washington Heights, Houston, Texas, and beyond.

As happened in Corinth so Paul would experience Jewish opposition to the gospel in Ephesus. Paul then "withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus" (19:9). This strategic withdrawal lead to a two-year long teaching ministry in Ephesus that resulted in "all the residents of Asia [hearing] the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks" (19:10). So we pray for a long-term, faithful teaching ministry that would lead many to hear, understand, and believe throughout all of Houston, beginning in Washington Heights.

And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
— Acts 19:1-10