ARTICLES

Volume 47 - Issue 1

Does Acts 4:23–31 Support the Practice of Simultaneous Prayer?

By Scott D. MacDonald

Abstract

Simultaneous prayer—the corporate practice of praying different prayers at the same time—is a worldwide phenomenon. One text frequently raised in support of the practice is Acts 4:23–31. This article explores that passage, reflecting on the Jewish liturgical backdrop and evaluating exactly how the early church prayed “together.” Acts 4 does provide a model for prayer, but it does not explicitly support simultaneous prayer, since Luke only records a single prayer and the spontaneity of the prayer is married to the liturgical recitation of Psalm 2:1–2. While simultaneous prayer could possibly find support elsewhere in Scripture, Christian communities should aspire to reflect the apostolic example in Acts 4.

In Zambia, the practice of simultaneous prayer is increasingly commonplace. In 2018, our seminary scheduled me to visit a Baptist church on the northside of Lusaka, the capital city with over 2.9 million people.1 The roads were alive with well-dressed churchgoers hustling to their churches, with men in suits and women mostly dressed according to the color of their Christian denomination. Dusty streets surrounded the tin-roofed building with a cross-shaped floorplan, and the temperature increased significantly as I entered the hall filled with smiling faces, wooden benches, and purple cloth. As a guest representing the seminary, I was ushered to a chair behind the pulpit, next to the pastor.

From this vantage point, I experienced simultaneous prayer in Africa. In the local language of Chinyanja, the worship leader announced that it was time to pray—“Tipempele,” “Let us pray.” The entire congregation then began speaking, shouting, and crying out their various prayers at the same time. At least three languages were being used, and I strained to hear what I could. Some members were shouting for God to protect them from the spirits, while others sought healing or employment opportunities. To use the contemporary parlance, people were pleading for a “breakthrough.” When it was over, I was left with questions, especially as I was only a year old in the broader culture and a relative stranger to this church practice.

1. The Global Prevalence of Simultaneous Prayer

The late Randy Arnett, an advocate for theological education in Africa, chronicled the prevalence of this prayer practice on the continent. In Arnett’s description of Baptist worship practices in Sub-Saharan Africa, a worship leader prompts the congregation to begin praying. Then Arnett says, “In all cases, one prays in a loud voice, rather than in silence. The loudness of the prayer varies from church to church, ranging from murmurs to shouting.”2 On an average Sunday in Lusaka, mass prayer is an expectation, not the exception. Rodney Masona, the principal of the Baptist Theological Seminary of Zambia, speculates that most Catholic and Baptist churches in Lusaka observe a form of simultaneous prayer. Meanwhile, virtually all Pentecostal churches do.3

Some African church leaders are seeking to respond to the host of Neo-Pentecostal prayer issues. Emiola Nihinlola of Nigeria asserts, “Baptist pastors and members have a duty to reject prayer practices and excesses that contradict biblical injunctions no matter how popular, attractive, pragmatic, or seemingly beneficial to physical church growth.”4 But the Bible does not seem to have a clear text that succinctly rebukes simultaneous prayer, and thus it continues to spread in Africa with little opposition.

The practice of simultaneous prayer is not only an African matter! Trevin Wax retells some of his experiences from the church in South Korea: “Whenever a group of Koreans is praying, whether as part of a church service or spontaneously in small groups, someone takes the lead, guides the rest of the group in what to pray for, and then says, ‘Let’s pray.’ At once, everyone prays out loud, according to the direction of the leader.”5 Diana Hynson from the United Methodists appreciates this Korean norm.

Prayer is a spiritual practice universal in its scope. The practice of simultaneous prayer in the Korean community may be new to some. Rather than praying silently or one at a time, the entire class or congregation prays aloud together, creating a kind of Pentecost atmosphere. This swell of prayer, which God understands all at once, creates a thrilling, even mysterious, sense of unity in the wholeness of God’s community.6

The practice of simultaneous prayer even exists in some circles in North America.7 In addition to “popcorn prayer,” “unison prayer,” and “call and response prayer,” Timothy Cho mentions the popularity of simultaneous prayer as a fourth method.

In several Christian traditions around the world, believers have practiced a fourth form of prayer for generations as a regular part of congregational life. This style of praying is most readily recognized as a “Korean” style of prayer, but has actually been practiced in African and Asian churches around the world, and even historically African-American churches in the United States. This prayer form, called tongsung kido in Korean, is the practice of praying one’s own prayer aloud at the same time as others.8

With Cho’s testimony concerning the presence of tongsung kido, “praying together in a loud voice,” around the world, the matter is not purely regional or cultural.

The matter of simultaneous prayer stirs debate in our Zambian seminary. When theological lecturers touch upon this practice and challenge students to provide biblical support for this form of prayer, the response is predictable: “Acts 4 says that the church prayed together, and we should do the same, lifting our voices together.” This defense refers to the early church prayer meeting recorded in Acts 4:23–31:

When [Peter and John] were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
 

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’
 

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (ESV)

This article questions whether this ancient corporate prayer provides a sufficient biblical foundation for the practice of simultaneous prayer. Considering the global reach of the practice, it requires greater biblical reflection, lest the church unwittingly wander from the biblical precepts for prayer. To this end, let us further explore the backdrop and events of that early church gathering.

2. An Overview of Acts 4:23–31

Stemming from Peter and John’s public healing of the lame man in Acts 3:1–10 and their subsequent preaching ministry concerning the resurrection of Jesus in 3:11–26, the first opposition toward the fledgling group of Christians arose. The text specifically mentions the Sadducees, since they were sensitive to any claims concerning a resurrection. Bruce elaborates, “They objected on principle to the doctrine of resurrection in itself, considering it to be a Pharisaic innovation, and they were greatly annoyed because the two apostles, by their insistence on the fact of Jesus’ resurrection, were so publicly and cogently maintaining that doctrine.”9 Yet the boldness of the apostles (v. 13) and the presence of the healed man (v. 14) quieted the attacks of the Jewish religious leaders. By local standards, they were untrained, but “the judges took cognizance of the fact that they had been companions of Jesus.”10 With their threats thwarted, the leaders could do nothing but release Peter and John.

2.1. The Reunion

Peter and John return to the church fellowship and provide a report to the others. Some debate exists pertaining to the exact population of the room. While thousands of believers existed by the time, it seems straightforward that this was nucleus of the Christian community, including the remainder of apostles.11 Or as Pervo mentions, “One possibility is to take ἰδίους to mean “the other apostles.”12 But with the Acts 1:15 gathering in mind, a larger group is more likely.

Among this young community, the hostility of the Jewish leadership is a matter of some concern. Sustained opposition may stall the evangelistic fervor of some and foreshadow future friction between the Jewish followers of Jesus and the traditional leaders of Judaism. For a people familiar with the consequences of opposition and steeped in the prayer practices of Christ, the reunion’s transformation into a prayer meeting is natural. Joining together in prayer is their common desire.

2.2. The Remembrance

The prayer begins with a classic formula. This event is not informal, as the congregation consisted of Jewish believers who prayed according to the methods they had learned.13 “They addressed God as Sovereign Lord [δέσποτα], the Creator of all, in time-honored liturgical language derived from Hebrew scripture.”14 The recitation of a psalm is not out of place when it is predominant in the prayer.

This prayer of remembrance is inherently Christological. First, the church community recounts Psalm 2 as an ancient prophecy, interpreting it through the events surrounding the persecution and crucifixion of Jesus. “The Scripture is in the exact Septuagintal rendering of Ps 2:1–2 and is presented as a prophecy, spoken by God through David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”15 The prayer not only indicts Gentile kings and rulers, but it groups unconverted Jewish people together with those who are against the Lord! From verses 24–28, the church remembers Christ’s sufferings, the opposition he faced, and the prevailing purposes of God amid such difficulties.

2.3. The Request

The bulk of the prayer recalls Christ and the opposition he faced, and this emphasis supports the brief request of verses 29–30. First, the early church does not pray for persecution to dissipate and for persecutors to disappear. “Instead of praying that God would destroy their enemies, as some people favor in the times of persecution, the believers simply left the matter of judgment to God and asked for strength to be bold in the face of the present danger.”16 They would not plead for the end of persecution. The rage of the peoples against the Anointed One had only accomplished the purposes of the Father! The early church saw similar purposes in their own experience of opposition.

They did not pray for comfort or deliverance. They prayed for endurance, fully aware of God’s sovereign plan for redemption. “In the paradox of human freedom and divine sovereignty, despite all the raging of humanity, God’s purposes prevail. They did so in Christ. They did so with the apostles before the Sanhedrin.”17 Like with Christ, the believers knew that God was continuing to perform miracles and signs, calling attention to the good news of salvation in the name of Jesus. Opposition would continue. The perseverance of the young community was the concern. And the community prays to that end, seeking to persevere in boldness, even as threats would inevitably turn into violence.

2.4. The Result

We do not know how long the actual prayer meeting lasted, as Luke’s recording is presumably selective rather than comprehensive, but the conclusion of the prayer is eventful. History was not repeating itself, but the Holy Spirit was dramatically demonstrating his commitment to empowering the church’s gospel ministry.

This was not a “second Pentecost.” They had already received the Spirit. The Spirit had helped Peter and John in a mighty way before the Sanhedrin. It was a fresh filling, a renewed awareness of the Spirit’s power and presence in their life and witness. This was not an ephemeral ecstatic manifestation but a fresh endowment of power for witness that would continue (cf. 4:33).18

A question arises in relation to the shaking of the room. While a metaphorical interpretation—“they were moved”—is not completely out of place, the shaking of the location is probably literal, considering the canonical precedent for such tremors (Exoda 19:18; Isa 6:4). In fact, the events of early Acts intend to evoke the Old Testament appearances of God. “When this shaking is combined with the cloud of Acts 1:9 and especially the sound, wind, and thunder of 2:2–3, Luke clearly recalls Old Testament theophanies here. Instead of a mere vision of God, however (cf. 7:55–56; 9:3–4), the community is again filled with God’s own Spirit (2:4; 4:31).”19 The prayer meeting aftershock testifies to the early Christian community that they are participating in the continuing and advancing purposes of God. Therefore, boldness is the result; as Chrysostom says, “‘The place was shaken,’ and that made them all the more unshaken.”20

3. The Prayer Methods of Acts 4:23–31

On first glance, Acts 4:23–31 is understandably considered a text that supports the practice of simultaneous prayer. Yet the text and context merit closer attention. What context undergirds and leads to this ancient prayer?

3.1. Jewish Background

The first point of context to consider is the Jewish composition of the early Christian community. As of yet, history does not mention any Gentiles as members of the church. Thus, the prayers of church followed Jewish tradition. “The author of the Acts of the Apostles hands down the wording of several important acts of praying in the young Christ-believing communities. To summarize: the earliest Christ-believing communities were very close to the practices of both public and private Jewish prayer.”21 It should be no surprise that the prayer incorporates a Septuagint recitation of Psalm 2!

3.2. Early Liturgy

Did the early church pray in set liturgical patterns? While not excluding the obvious presence of spontaneous prayers in the Scriptures, Pelikan notes the use of the Greek article and the plural “the prayers” in Acts 2:42, arguing that this structure “seems to suggest habitual or designated prayers, perhaps even, at least inchoately, fixed formulas of prayer…. It seems at least possible that the term ‘the prayers’ refers to the Lord’s Prayer and possibly to other formulas such as the primitive eucharistic prayer reproduced in the Didache.”22 Early rhythms of prayers were developing, drawing from the church’s experience with Christ and the Jewish worship of God.

The prayer of Acts 4 starts “like a liturgical prayer rather than a spontaneous expression.”23 While it is tailored to the circumstances of Acts 3–4, the prayer operates within, not divorced from, liturgical and historical prayer patterns. Polhill connects Acts 4 with Isaiah 37.

More than that the whole form of the prayer has Old Testament precedents. Compare Hezekiah’s prayer in Isa 37:16–20, where the same elements appear: God was addressed as Lord and Creator, there followed a reference to the threat of Israel’s enemies, and the prayer concluded with a petition. It is in the petition that the major difference from the Christians’ prayer appears. Hezekiah prayed for deliverance. The Christians prayed for courage.24

While some of the content is spontaneously provided, the overall framework of the Acts 4 prayer is historical and liturgical. God’s people are praying in unity, even in harmony with prophets and kings of old.

Yet, the spontaneity of the prayer should not be overlooked. Yes, the beginning is more structured and formulaic, especially with the psalmic recitation. But none of the early congregants were convinced that the crisis had subsided, and the crisis sparked an immediate reaction in corporate prayer. The conclusion of the prayer reflects contextually specific information, as the Spirit led the early church into the spontaneity of prayer. Bloesch comments with Acts 2:42 in mind, “Prayer in the biblical perspective is spontaneous, though it may take structured forms…. True prayer, in the prophetic or biblical sense, bursts through all forms and techniques. This is because it has its basis in the Spirit of God, who cannot be encased in a sacramental box or a ritualistic formula.”25 Acts 4 portrays this balance: Prayer is both grounded in scriptural, historical patterns and “bursting” forth anew thanks to the Spirit’s leadership in new challenges and contexts.

3.3. Togetherness

A striking feature of the Acts 4 prayer is the “togetherness” of its performance, originating from ὁμοθυμαδόν. In general, it is a flexible term. In Acts 2:1 and 2:46, location is at the forefront, as the believers were “all together in one place” and “attending the temple together.” In Acts 8:6, togetherness of activity and disposition is in mind, as “the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip.” In Acts 18:12, the word probably means united action with a leader, for while the “united attack” to Paul’s ministry in Corinth was vast, it is unlikely that the opposition would not have an appointed leader for legal proceedings. Yet another text is especially relevant for our treatment of Acts 4.

One curious usage of ὁμοθυμαδόν is in Romans 15:6. Paul exhorts, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”26 United and harmonious in Christ, the apostle envisions a Roman church worshipping God in unison—ἐν ἑνὶ στόματι, “with one mouth/voice.” Correctly translating φρονεῖν as “to think,” Moo says, “Paul prays specifically that God might give to the Roman Christians the ability ‘to think the same thing,’” and this unity of thought leads to unity of action.27 The meaning is evident: Speaking together in one voice is not to be taken literally, as if Paul envisioned the Roman church shouting the gospel message in unison throughout the imperial capital. Instead, it signifies that their union in Christ transcends their differences and gives them a united voice in glorifying God.

Considering the flexibility of ὁμοθυμαδόν, determining the exact connotation from Acts 4 is essential. Keener highlights the nuances of the prayer.

This passage reflects “free, spontaneous” prayer, as apparently often in early Christianity (cf. 1 Cor 14:26). Crying out with a single voice could refer to prayer in unison, in which case it would be inspired. This could resemble the common voice of the chorus in Greek drama; such a chorus had to speak in unison to be intelligible…. One may think also of later synagogue liturgy, but it is unclear to what extent a liturgy existed in this period, and even less clear whether it was widely praying in unison. More problematic still, the prayer is too relevant to the events to be an earlier liturgical form simply recited together. Far more likely, it simply reflects the idiom for speaking in unanimity—that is, united in agreement (as implied … elsewhere in Acts…)—rather than speech with identical words. (The assembly could have recited the psalm quotation together, however.)28

As mentioned, the possibility exists, though unlikely since Luke does not volunteer the information, that the Holy Spirit inspired the community to pray the same words in unison, but apart from such a dramatic option, it seems unlikely that the early church’s liturgy was so developed that they had this prayer pre-prepared. The early church prayed together, but probably not in the literal sense of speaking simultaneously or in unison.29

Rather, the togetherness of Acts 4:24 means agreement. The use of ὁμοθυμαδόν here conveys “shared passion or commitment.”30 The word could also be rendered as a united “purpose/impulse.”31 Keener rules out the option of the entire prayer being in unison.

Although choruses in Greek drama recited lines together, here “with one accord” (KJV, NASB) simply means “together, in unity” (the same word occurs in 1:14; 2:46; 5:12). This is not a unified liturgy as eventually became standard in synagogues; scholars do not even all agree that prayers were recited in unison in most Palestinian synagogues in this period. Instead, the text probably means simply that someone inspired by the Spirit led the prayer.32

Polhill adds, “Together they lifted their voices in praise to God. That they offered an occasional prayer of this nature in unison is unlikely. Luke was simply expressing that the whole community joined together in this prayer.”33 Walton concurs, “It seems unlikely that Luke is portraying choral speech … so we might paraphrase, ‘Those who heard lifted their voice in united concern to God.’”34 What happened? Presumably, one person prayed. The people may have orally remembered Psalm 2 in unison. The leader interpreted the psalm in prayer and then presented the community’s desire for perseverance in boldness. In this time of prayer, the community was of the same mind. And if “voices” was intended to be literal, it could refer to the recitation of Psalm 2. Jewish background, early liturgy, and togetherness all played a part in the Acts 4 prayer, and it led to a unique prayer that was orderly and psalmic yet tailored to the immediate circumstances.

4. The Contrast Between Simultaneous Prayer and the Acts 4 Prayer

The overlap between the practice of simultaneous prayer and the corporate prayer of the early church is straightforward. First, both cases express physical words to communicate with God, assuming upon his interest in human affairs and his attribute of omnipresence. Second, both practices require a corporate gathering of some kind. Third, intercessors in both situations share biblical language for prayer. But beyond those commonalities, little overlap persists.

The question remains concerning whether the Acts 4 prayer supports simultaneous prayer practices. While not amounting to an explicit repudiation of simultaneous prayer as a practice, it is difficult to overlook the glaring differences. Let us consider a few.

First, simultaneous prayer is often, though not always, deliverance and “breakthrough” oriented. Other passages of Scripture retell prayers of deliverance and demonstrate the validity of seeking God’s provision (e.g., Ps 91). But Acts 4 shares how the early church prayed for perseverance, seeking to remain bold in the face of persistent opposition. Content points us away from using Acts 4 as a support for simultaneous prayer.

Second, simultaneous prayer requires the voices of many believers praying different prayers at the same time. But while Acts 4:24 says that “they lifted their voices together,” this statement likely symbolizes their agreement in prayer or the possible recitation of Psalm 2:1–2 in unison. And in contrast to the offering of numerous prayers at the same time, Luke records only one prayer. Simultaneous prayer does not find an ally here.

Third, simultaneous prayer relies upon the individual’s personal prayer liturgy and vocabulary. While perhaps topically directed by a leader (e.g., “Everyone, pray for the poor”) every individual ultimately prays according to their historical practice and previous experiences. But in Acts 4, the church possesses a shared framework for a prayer liturgy, perhaps including the communal memorization of Psalm 2:1–2.

The contrast is stark. As it is practiced around the world today, simultaneous prayer does not follow the model in Acts 4. While the descriptions may seem similar, this prayer of the early church is distinct, having more in common with a planned time of leader-led corporate prayer.

5. The Value of Retaining the Apostolic Example in Corporate Prayer

Seeking to reform the use of prayer in the church congregation, Robert Williamson complains, “Many prayers heard in church are not public prayers at all. They are merely private prayers which are prayed in public.”35 In many ways, simultaneous prayer exacerbates this malady. Instead of corporate prayer uniting the community and inculcating biblical prayer habits, the elevation of simultaneous prayer at the expense of corporate prayer can perpetuate poor prayer practices.

Yes, simultaneous prayer does encourage each member of the community to pray, an important concern in many places where church members exalt pastors as the “spiritual elite” with unique access to God. But unless a believer regularly hears and participates in corporate prayer under godly leaders, the danger of drifting toward unhealthy habits persists. Consider the same argument applied to Corinth! Simultaneous prophesying could encourage prophesy in the church. Yet, in order that all may learn and participate together, taking turns leads to a peaceful service (1 Cor 14:26–33). “Let all things be done for building up.”

The apostolic example in Acts 4:24–30 is our path forward. First, let the church unite in prayer by remembering the Psalms together. Sadly, in many Christian communities, the wisdom of the Psalms is absent from worship services. When a neglect of the Psalms prevails, the church has effectively alienated herself from the prayers of the saints throughout the Old and New Testaments. Let the church militant raise her voice in unity with the church triumphant!

Second, let the church draw from the Old Testament patterns of prayer, exalting our “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them.” Corporate Christian prayer should be distinct from the informality and individuality of private prayer. The wealth of biblical prayer is an easy bridge to unite our times of corporate prayer, instead of dividing through overly personalized prayer practices.

Third, let the church embrace the sovereign purposes of God and pray with his will in mind. The early Christians carefully weighed the content of their corporate prayers. Instead of instinctively reacting to escape persecution, they understood difficulty and opposition’s role in God’s purposes. Our congregational prayer times are precisely when we should sensitively reflect upon God’s plans for the church and resubmit to furthering his glory among the nations, even through suffering.

Unless simultaneous prayer is highly regulated, it fails to rise to the example of corporate prayer in Acts 4:23–31. Psalms, Old Testament patterns, and an emphasis on the sovereign purposes of God may occasionally occur, but ultimately, simultaneous prayer does not reach the same quality of unity. While we cannot absolutely invalidate simultaneous prayer or how God has worked through it, let us pursue the apostolic example as we gather in prayer, that we may attain the fullness of unity.


[1] “Zambia,” The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/zambia/.

[2] Randy Arnett, Pentecostalization: The Evolution of Baptists in Africa (Eldon, MO: Randy Arnett, 2017), 73–74.

[3] Personal conversation, 19 March 2021.

[4] Emiola Nihinlola, “Biblical Responses to Neo-Pentecostal Prayer Practices,” in The Abandoned Gospel: Confronting Neo-Pentecostalism and the Prosperity Gospel in Sub-Saharan Africa, ed. Philip W. Barnes, et al. (Nairobi: AB316, 2021), 149.

[5] Trevin Wax, “2 Reminders from the Korean Church about Prayer,” TGC, 17 November 2016, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/2-reminders-from-the-korean-church-about-prayer/.

[6] Diana L. Hynson, “Learning the Practice of Walking with Christ,” The United Methodist Church: Discipleship Ministries, 25 January 2011, https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/learning-the-practice-of-walking-with-christ.

[7] Simultaneous practices are occasionally present in other ways. As an undergraduate student at Moody Bible Institute, I was invited by some friends to an open worship time with the Moody Gospel Choir. But instead of praying out loud at the same time, the choir leader gave us a note and then prompted us to simultaneously sing our own improvised songs in worship to God, in relative harmony to the note provided.

[8] Timothy I. Cho, “How and Why to Pray the Korean-Style Prayer of Tongsung Kido,” Faithfully, n.d., https://faithfullymagazine.com/how-to-pray-tongsung-kido/.

[9] F. F. Bruce, The Book of the Acts, revised ed., NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 90.

[10] Bruce, The Book of the Acts, 95.

[11] Bruce, The Book of the Acts, 95.

[12] Richard I. Pervo, Acts: A Commentary, Hermeneia (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009), 121.

[13] Pervo, Acts, 121.

[14] Bruce, The Book of Acts, 98.

[15] John B. Polhill, Acts, NAC 26 (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1992), 149.

[16] Clifton J. Allen, ed. Acts-1 Corinthians, Broadman Bible Commentary 10 (Nashville: Broadman, 1970), 41.

[17] Polhill, Acts, 149.

[18] Polhill, Acts, 150.

[19] Craig S. Keener, Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 2: 3:1–14:28 (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 1174.

[20] Francis Martin and Evan Smith, eds. Acts, ACCSNT 5 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 54.

[21] Oda Wischmeyer, “Prayer and Emotion in Mark 14:32–42 and Related Texts,” in Ancient Jewish Prayers and Emotions, eds. Stefan C. Reif and Renate Egger-Wenzel (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015), 336.

[22] Jaroslav Pelikan, Acts, Brazos Theological Commentary of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2005), 77.

[23] Pelikan, Acts, 78.

[24] Polhill, Acts, 148.

[25] D. G. Bloesch, “Prayer,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1984), 867.

[26] Emphasis supplied.

[27] Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 871.

[28] Keener, Acts, 2:1166.

[29] Consider Exodus 19:8. The Septuagint reflects that the nation of Israel answered Moses “together” saying “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” The scene even ends with tremors in verse 18! Yet the format of the exchange is a covenant agreement, not exactly a prayer (John I. Durham, Exodus, WBC 3 [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1987], 261). While the tremors of Acts 4 remind us of Sinai, the discourses are specific to their location in redemptive history.

[30] Steve Walton, “Ὁμοθυμαδὸν in Acts: Co-location, Common Action or ‘Of One Heart and Mind’?,” in The New Testament in Its First Century Setting: Essays on Context and Background in Honour of B. W. Winter on His 65th Birthday, ed. Peter J. Williams, et al. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 105.

[31] BDAG 706, s.v. “ὁμοθυμαδόν.”

[32] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 329.

[33] Polhill, Acts, 148.

[34] Steve Walton, “Ὁμοθυμαδὸν in Acts,” 102.

[35] Robert L. Williamson, Effective Public Prayer (Nashville: Broadman, 1960), 18.

Scott D. MacDonald

Scott D. MacDonald serves as academic dean and an instructor of theology and New Testament studies with the Baptist Theological Seminary of Zambia in partnership with the International Mission Board.

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