"And when they had prayed the place was shaken where they were assembled together." Acts 4:31
Here you will find an account of the model church - the Church as Jesus would have it be. Note for a moment the characteristics of that Church. "And when they had prayed the place was shaken . . ." These people knew how to pray. That is evident. Their Church was in truth the House of Prayer. There was great unity within that Church. They were "of one heart and one soul." They were concentrated as well as consecrated. They gave of their substance freely. They were generous souls within that Church. There was great grace there also. And surely there was great power. "And with great power gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." Note the five great fundamentals which go to make up the model Church of Jesus Christ: Prayer, Unity, Generosity, Grace, and Power. If you want your Church to come up to the Apostolic standard, it must possess all these characteristics.
In the model Church, the people will love to pray. They will love that more than anything else. They would rather go to a prayer meeting than to a place of entertainment. When the Church of God uses the Apostolic standard, it will be a praying church; that will be its chief characteristic. These people prayed! When they prayed, something happened. Some of us would be surprised if anything striking happened as a result of our prayers. But, you see, I am speaking of the Apostolic Church; the sort of Church you say you would like to have in your locality. I am speaking, not of a Church which had grown conventional and cold, but of a conspicuous, outstanding, convincing, converting Church.
Do men and women enter Sunday after Sunday and say, "I am in the place of Prayer - there is the quickening atmosphere of Prayer all about me". Do they realize that the spirit of unity exists there? Are they conscious of the generosity, the grace, and the power of those whose names are on the Church Roll, and who worship there Sunday after Sunday? I want to tell you something else you would be doing, if you were like the members of the first Apostolic Church. You would come to Church every Sunday morning a little earlier in order to meet in prayer with your minister, and that would have a mighty effect upon the day's services, upon the preacher and upon the congregation. Another thing you would do is watch carefully the spiritual life of the Church, guard it at every point, stimulate it by prayer and by godly conversation and see to it that nothing is allowed to enter the Church to pollute the spiritual atmosphere or to smother the promptings of the Holy Ghost. There will be no converting power within your Church, no building-up and strengthening of Christian graces of character, if the spiritual atmosphere is violated. You must see to it that all its windows are open to the winds of Heaven, that the breath of God may have full play.