“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Acts 1:14
Did you ever see a plague of grasshoppers? One time Jane and I were returning home from a missions’ conference in Cleveland, OH. Soon after we crossed the border into Saskatchewan from North Dakota, near the town of Estevan, all of a sudden we drove into a swarm of grasshoppers. The sky was darkened with the flying insects. Grasshoppers were marching across the prairies devouring everything green in their way. So many cars had run over and crushed their hard-shelled bodies it was like someone had poured out a barrel of grease on the highway. The car started sliding as if it were on wet ice. We slowed down and we proceeded carefully for a couple of miles before we were in the clear. That was an experience we never forgot!
Back in Brazil in the 90’s, Pastor Paulino told me a story of an encounter they had with grasshoppers at the Indian village called Araçá. Araçá is a village situated at the base of a mountain range near the borders of Venezuela and Guyana. The people of the village planted gardens, raised cattle, hunted and fished to put food on the table.
It was a year of grasshopper plagues. One grasshopper by itself seems quite harmless, but millions of the little creatures slowly munching along will devour every blade of grass in the pastures, every leaf on the trees along the streams and destroy the gardens recently planted with corn, squash and casava root.
Word was that there was a swarm of grasshoppers heading their way. Would it go through the village, or would it eventually go in another direction? They weren’t sure, but they sure kept their eye on it. The swarm kept coming, it passed through other villages and a ranch. The people of Araçá began to get very concerned. What could they do? There was no way humanly possible to divert an approaching storm of insects. That’s when they decided to take it to the Lord in prayer. The whole village met together in the church and with bowed heads and hearts they prayed and asked the Lord to protect the village and their gardens. The swarm got closer and closer, the people kept praying, day after day.
On the day the grasshoppers arrived at the boundary of Araçá village, the swarm abruptly turned to the south, until they passed the eastern edge of their territory and then the swarm turned west and completely bypassed the village and all their gardens. Oh, how the people rejoiced. Their prayers turned to praise. That was an answer to prayer that wouldn’t be soon forgotten.
The first meeting the Christians had in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts one, was a prayer meeting attended by about 120 people. It was a time of fellowship and prayer. They were of one accord while they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The church was born on that day and it began to grow. Souls were added to the church and churches were multiplied. What was the secret of their success? The Word of God, the Spirit of God, and prayer. The book of Acts speaks of people praying at least 30 times.
Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”
The spiritual lives of Christians and the future and the progress of the local church depends upon the prayers of its people. We have the example of the primitive church praying.
The Christians at Araçá met together in a fellowship of prayer and the Lord graciously responded. When people pray together, the Lord responds and blesses. We are living in difficult days here in Canada. Our problem isn’t grasshoppers, but the problems of the day can sometimes seem to be overwhelming. That begs the question, “Why don’t we pray more?” God still hears and answers prayer.