Acts 9:31 – “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”
The 1st century church faced tense times, filled with persecution and Roman oppression, which caused Jesus’ followers to spread out from Jerusalem into neighboring regions. Despite tensions, the church had peace and was built up. How was that possible? The second half of the verse tells us: “Walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” Our nation is currently facing tense times with racial, political and spiritual strife, especially in large cities, full of cultural diversity.
America has been regarded as a “Christian nation” so often that our missional gaze can be easily drawn to faraway peoples. In Acts 9:31, the first place we see the church having an impact is right in its own backyard: Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. Two places with a great need for Gospel impact and the peace of Christ are right here in America: Boston and Las Vegas.
Boston is home to some of our nations' oldest churches, but a sad majority of these are empty of the Gospel message. The city is also living in the shadow of the 2013 Marathon Bombing, which left millions asking, “where is God?” and “how can we find peace?”
We think of Las Vegas as full of casinos, entertainment, and escapism; but it is also a sprawling city devastated by the real estate bust and a struggling economy, in desperate need of gospel transformation.
I hope you will remember the words of this Puritan prayer as you pray for our nation and these cities: “Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart, and I appeal to thee with greatest freedom to set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns; Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice, for to bring honor to thy name is my sole desire. Lord, use me as thou wilt, do with me what thou wilt, but, O, promote thy cause, let thy kingdom come, let thy blessed interest be advanced in this world. Amen!”
By Trey Eitel