After Luke introduces his letter to Theophilus, and after the final moments of Jesus before his ascension is described, Luke records that the apostles came back to Jerusalem (as Jesus had told them) and were “devoting themselves to prayer,” along with many others who were disciples of Jesus. Why would they do that?
One reason is because they had already seen Jesus fill his life with prayer. In Matthew 14.23, Jesus went off to pray by himself on a mountain. In Luke 5.16, it seems that withdrawing to “desolate places” to pray was Jesus’ normal course of behavior. Occasionally, Jesus would tell the apostles that he was praying for them personally (Luke 22.32). Most recently, Jesus had prayed fervently in the garden of Gethsemane before his death. Since their master teacher had talked to God constantly, it’s no wonder that the disciples would as well.
Another reason they were devoting themselves to prayer is that they needed a deep connection to God in this time of turmoil. Judas had just betrayed their Lord and then committed suicide, Jesus had died, rose again, taught them for 40 days, then left for heaven on a cloud! Their world has been completely shaken. Even though Jesus had told them why they needed to stay in Jerusalem and what they needed to wait for (vs. 4-5), they still needed intimate contact with God.
How much of our lives are “devoted to prayer”? When important times come, do we constantly and consistently approach God? When is the last time we have prayed all night to God, as Jesus did in Luke 6.12? No matter what our circumstances are, let’s bring our lives to Him through the blessing of prayer.