12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
Verses 12-14 describe an upper-room prayer meeting assembled at Jesus’ request. The prayer meeting involved the 11 apostles and Mary, with other men and women, amounting to 120 people. They later showed their unity (Acts 1:14-15; 2:44).
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
The Mount of Olives was east of the city of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. The apostles went to Jerusalem to comply with the Lord’s request to go there.
a Sabbath day’s journey.
A “Sabbath day’s journey” was about three-fifths of a mile, which was the longest that Jewish law allowed a person to walk on the Sabbath.
And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying:
Usually, the largest rooms in first-century Israel were upstairs.
Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.
These names are 11 of the original 12 apostles. The “Judas” here is not Judas Iscariot but the author of the biblical book of Jude. These names are the same list as in Luke 6:14-16.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,
The word “continued” means persisted; they persevered in prayer (Ro 12:12: Col 4:2).
The Greek has the definite article “the” before the word “prayer,” making it a definite prayer. The content of prayer here is that God would fulfill the promise of Acts 1:4, that the Holy Spirit would come to indwell the church permanently (Ro 8:9).
“One accord” is an expression of unity among the group. These words occur 11 times in the book of Acts (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 46; 4:24; 5:12; 7:57; 8:6; 12:20; 15:25; 18:12; 19:29). The word “accord” carries the idea of one mind or passion. There was unanimity among the group (Acts 4:32; 6:5; 15:25).
with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
Mary, with other women and Jesus’ brothers, were also in the room. This statement is the only mention of Mary in the book of Acts. His brothers probably believed in Him when He rose from the dead.
God’s promises are the warrant for prayer.
The apostles were to wait 10 days, the period between the Ascension and the Day of Pentecost, for the Holy Spirit’s direction about an entirely new program. They were to wait for the launch of the church.
There are times when we need to wait for God to work. This period should be a time of prayer. It should be a time also of claiming God’s promises, as the apostles did in Acts 1:5, 5, 8. God’s promises give believers the confidence to pray; His promises form the basis of our authority to pray.
Praying together is also a value of biblical Christianity (Acts 4:24-30; 16:25; 21:5). There is a unity that ushers forth from prayer.