And Peter solemnly testified and continued to admonish and urge them with many more words, saying, “Be saved from this crooked and unjust generation!” So then, those who accepted his message were baptized; and on that day about 3,000 souls were added. They were continually and faithfully devoting themselves to the instruction of the apostles, and to fellowship, to eating meals together and to prayers.
When I first became a Christian, many things in my life changed instantly and dramatically. The one thing that stands out most to me is the impact that my new faith had on my personal relationships. Some of my closest friends turned their backs to me the moment I confessed my newfound love for Jesus Christ. So many people left my life that I felt as if I had no one. It became very important for me to find a community to which I could belong as my community dwindled. By God’s grace I quickly found many different communities within the greater Church to befriend me, nourish me, and guide me. The friendships I developed in those communities and continue to develop today are very distinct from the ones I have left behind me. That is because Christian fellowship is different than worldly fellowship, and one of the contrasting characteristics is prayer.
Today’s verse gives us the example of what fellowship is. Two things listed are sharing meals together and sharing prayers together. It is probably not a stretch for us to think of breaking bread with our brothers and sisters as fellowship. I would wager that most of the fellowship experiences you and I have had included food of some type. We commonly view fellowship as a time of just hanging out and getting to know one another, but how often do we incorporate prayer into our fellowship? This passage appears to indicate that fellowship in prayer is part of the picture. It only makes sense as our desire to spend time with like-minded Christian believers should produce those things which make us like-minded. Our time together should produce things of the Spirit. And if our goal is to grow close to our brothers and sisters and to learn of them, prayer is an incredibly intimate way to do so.
Corporate prayer is fellowship. When we gather together as the greater Church to praise God through prayer and to petition him to move, we are engaging in fellowship. It is an opportunity for us to truly develop the relationships that God wants his children to have with one another. It goes beyond superficial commonalities and takes us to a new depth with one another. I believe that prayer provides the fellowship that God really desires for us, which is a genuine intimacy within the parts of the body. Fellowship through prayer will help us to grow close enough to operate as a single spiritual unit. Father, thank You for inviting us to join together in prayer to You, and remind us that this kind of fellowship is necessary for us to grow as the Church that You desire.