First Baptist Church of Minneola
When a Church Prays
- Our prayers lay the track down which Gods power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails. --Watchman NeeINTRO - Last week we discussed how Paul went straightway to work serving God.This week we continue our study from Acts.We are half way through this series with five more to go.Today we turn our attention to the activity of the early church.EST - Today’s text tells us how the early church prayed.ESS - This morning’s message will draw four principles from the text.OSS - The message will challenge us to begin gathering for prayer.TRANS - It’s somewhere between 41-44 AD.Herod Agrippa I is ruling over Judea.He was raised in Rome and charged to win favor of the Jews.In attempt to win favor of Jews, he had James killed.If not for the Passover, he’d done the same thing with Peter.Herod was clearly the archenemy of Christians.Let’s look at our passage by asking:What does it say?So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.Early church persecution.The grandson of Herod the Great, Herod, killed John’s brother James.Peter put in prison.Herod’s plans beaten down by prayer.The angel opened the prison doors and Peter got away.The church knew to pray through the persecution and their prayers were instrumental in Peter’s release.Their prayers provide us instruction.TRANS - Let’s peel back the layers and get into this message.What does it mean?Peter in prison, people in prayer.4 thingsA Church of Dutiful Disciples “prayer … was made … by the church.”Dutiful disciples pray.Do you know it it your duty to pray?Sadly, we don’t gather together to pray anymore.I’d like to see that change.We gather to eat donuts and drink coffee.We gather to learn with one another.We come together for Sunday morning worship.“We need prayer meetings.”This verse expresses the great value of prayer.ILL - I really like what I see Beit Tikvah doing on Friday nights. They are a praying group and God is going to bless them for being so dutiful.FBC Minneola met with Beit Tikvah for a 24 week Bible study on prayer. We identified a number of areas where God is working. I want to see God move in our church and in our community.Duty to God, in corporate prayer, is all through Scripture. Sadly, our society and culture steer people away from praying together and led most Christians to thinking personal prayer time is enough. Don’t get me wrong, some of my most precious times with God are when I am alone in prayer.In the Kingdom of our Lord, a praying church is an unstoppable foe against evil.Everything else that we do is done better when we pray.So, why is gathering for prayer seem like an added on elective?Don’t be discouraged.Seeing this in the Bible is our first step back to being a church that becomes the apple of His eye.I know we all want to see God bless our church.Also, I know God wants to see his people gather for prayer according to that purpose.Seems to me to be a match truly made in heaven.TRANS - What else does this verse teach?A Church of Direct Disciples “made to God”Interestingly Scripture never suggests prayers made to anyone but God.No praying to saints or Mary, that is pointless and a waste of time.Why would someone even bother praying to the created when they can go to the creator?God is our help in time of need; not a dead person.Pray to God.Idols can’t do a thing.I’m not suggesting you pray to a lump of stone or wood carving, but if you did, do you think it would answer you?I believe people hearing voices from inanimate objects are not right in their head.TRANS - We’ve noted that churches are dutiful and direct when praying.What else?A Church of Dedicated Disciples “earnest prayer for him was made”They really prayed; they put themselves into praying.They didn’t go through motions or pray mechanically.They prayed earnestly, with all they could muster they brought supplications to God.They didn’t set an ambiguous time so they could get right home to watch TV.They didn’t rush off after a quick prayer tossed up by one of the members.They prayed until they got an answer:When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.They were praying and Peter showed up at the door.Talk about answered prayer!The group told the servant girl that answered the door she was “out of her mind.”“They were praying for his release and when he showed up; it truly was God’s answering their prayers.”Most churches have no idea what this sort of ongoing prayer looks like, sounds like, much less are willing to give up time to pray.FBC doesn’t need better machinery, reorganization, nor a more novel method.We need people who are mighty in prayer.The Spirit does not flow through products, but through people.God does not anoint plans, but people.We’ve noted this passage reminds us of our duty to pray, our need to be direct, and the dedication God is looking for in His children.TRANS - Our verse reminds us a praying people are dutiful, direct and dedicated.Let’s shift to the final point.A Church of Defined Disciples “prayer for him was made”They knew for what they prayed.They prayed for Peter.HUM - When a nightclub opened on Main Street, the only church in that small town organized an all-night prayer meeting. The members asked God to burn down the club. Within a few minutes, lightning struck the club, and it burned to the ground. The owner sued the church, which denied responsibility.After hearing both sides, the judge said, “It seems that wherever the guilt may lie, the nightclub owner believes in prayer, while the church doesn’t.”We once had a financial crisis in this church. I don’t know how much you realize the power of prayer from that morning changed things. We went nearly a year without anymore financial problems. It was tight sometimes, but no real problems… and pastor got paid LOL.We need to pray highly specific prayers like that more often.We need to pull the rope that rings heaven’s bell.Not one dong, but many repeatedly and our Lord will hear.Too often I hear people praying for everything under the sun.I don’t understand this “hedge of protection” thing I hear.If that were a prayer, whey would’t we pray for a hedge around the whole earth?“They are not praying for all the world missionaries, but they prayed for Peter.”Praying for missionaries needs to be done and at the right time.The time here is for Peter’s prayer needs.General requests and not asking for specific answers.There are times we can’t be specific and the HS comes to our aid:Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.But this is not that case.The need is specific, the answer may not come as we expect, but it is the definite answer to a defined prayer.Our points on a praying people included dutiful, direct, dedicated, and defined disciples.How should we respond?What does God expect from Christians?Beit Tikvah is welcoming us to gather here Friday evenings for praise and prayer; what could be better than groups of Christians praying together?The text reminds us of the greatness of prayer; its for God’s ears only.Prayer demands our time and it challenges us to place personal interests second.Lastly, todays message reminded us that God answers highly specific prayers with definite answers.FBC Minneola needs God to show up and show out; He will do that when we remember to gather for specific times of prayer.(end)
1 Corinthians 10:16ESV
1 Corinthians 11:26ESV
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