Summary: Let’s look at four reasons why we can rest in the power of Constant Prayer. Adapted in part from "The Power of Prayer" – Sermon Central By Rich Dunbar. <Power Point available upon request.>
The Power of Prayer – Sermon Central
By Rich Dunbar – 09.24.06
Intro and Illustration:
There’s a supposedly true story of a Welsh woman who lived in a remote valley in Wales. She went to a great deal of trouble and expense to have electrical power installed in her home. However, after a couple of months, the electric company noticed she didn’t seem to use very much electricity at all.
Thinking there might be a problem with the hookup, they sent a meter reader out to check it out. The man from the electric company came to the door and said, "We’ve just checked your meter and it doesn’t seem that you’re using much electricity. Is there a problem?"
The lady replied, "Oh no, there is no problem. We are so thankful that we have your electric power whenever we need it. We turn on the electric lights every night to see how to light our lamps and then we switch them off again…we don’t want to be a bother…"
Silly but true story, but …
Question: Why didn’t this woman want to use her electricity more often?
• She believed in electricity
• She believed the promises of the electric company when they came and got her connected, and they told her all she needed to know about it
• She went to a great deal of expense to have her house wired for electricity
• THE PROBLEM WAS - she did not understand the potential of having electricity in her home.
AND SO, she used the new electric power sparingly
I suspect there are people who use prayer very much the same way.
• They believe in prayer
• They know of the promises God has made
• They’ve even read and have heard stories about how God answers prayers
• BUT they use the power of prayer only when they have to…sparingly
• Perhaps they do not understand how prayer really works…and need to have it explained…
This can even be the case for church-wide prayer…
Several pastors have told me that the first thing their church does in attempting to reach souls is to have lots of prayer. As a church, we probably have not prayed like we should for souls, and this is what I want to talk to you about today.
We have an example of this with the Local Church there in Jerusalem. They had Constant Prayer during a time of crisis in their church, and the result was that their prayers were miraculously answered.
As well, we have a crisis in our church. That is, anytime a church is not seeing souls being saved on a regular basis is a crisis time.
Text: Acts 12:5
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but Constant Prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
Here Peter is waiting for whatever Herod was going to do with him. Escape seemed impossible because he was guarded by 16 soldiers that worked 6 hour shifts in groups of fours. One soldier is chained to each side of him and the other two are standing outside the cell to make sure he can’t get out. As well, there are multiple guard posts and locked gates to get out of this prison facility.
But here is what made the difference. There was a group of believers fervently praying for Peter’s release.
Peter rested on the promises of God and he simply went to sleep. Psalms 121:3-4 says that He was resting in Him who neither slumbers nor sleeps. Peter knew God was in charge of his life and he could rest easy. How many of us would get a good night’s sleep in prison, sleeping on the floor, with two chains binding us to two guards?
Let’s look at four reasons why we can rest in the power of Constant Prayer:
1. DELIVERANCE can be found in Constant Prayer Verse 7
Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands.
Peter was bound under heavy chains with two guards on each side of him 24 hours a day. Yet God broke those bonds and allowed Peter to be set free. God has done something even greater for us in that He has broken the bonds/chains of sin and death.
2. DIRECTION can be found in Constant Prayer. Verse 8 – 10. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals…and put on your garment and follow me.”
God gives guidance when we don’t know the way. V. 8-10
I doubt that Peter knew his way around this particular prison. He needed guidance to get away from the place he was bound. We also need guidance in our lives as we grow and mature in the Lord. If we do not follow the guidance the Lord provides we will likely be caught and put back into the chains that have already been broken for us. Left without direction in our lives, we will remain under the influence of the enemy.