Apostolic Evangelism: The power of a praying community
I recently learned that one of my ancestors was a Celt. I thought I was 100% Swiss Anabaptist. But what I learned is that a Celtic Christian moved from Ireland to Switzerland and his ancestors became involved in the Anabaptist movement.
I became excited about this because the story of the Celtic evangelization of Europe is one of my favorite stories of how the gospel spreads best using the gifts of the Spirit.
In this bygone era, some of the things that God is doing today come together in a fascinating story.
I am sure you have heard about how St. Patrick was used by God in very supernatural ways to introduce the Gospel to Ireland. While he is famous, did you know that his disciples continued in the same pattern – for several generations? Those who Patrick trained also moved in miracles and those who they trained did as well.
The Celts were also a praying people. In fact, they had sustained day and night prayer at some locations for over 400 years!
As Christianity spread throughout the British Isles, they would always establish a praying community – often in the form of a monastery or a group of monks totally devoted to God and His Kingdom.
An established monastery would send out apostolic bands to build a new monastery. But they did not cloister themselves entirely. They engaged with the community around them, inviting them to their property and their meetings. They used the prophetic gift as God inspired their speech toward others. The community would grow and eventually they would send out another band from there to yet another location. They evangelized the entire British Isles and then moved on to the continent of Europe as Christianity spread East.
What I like about their story is that it illustrates the power of a praying community of believers who engage with the surrounding culture in love.
I believe God intended for us to announce the Gospel with power and in love. A praying community can experience constant renewal as the presence of God continually empowers them. As God is restoring apostolic Christianity today, it is inspiring and comforting to realize that we are not forging new territory.
God has done fantastic things in the past which he is renewing in our day. It is exciting to see these things taking place all over the world. Remember, there will never be a time when the Kingdom of God is not increasing!
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