Summary: The early church understood the key to spiritual power flowed from an active prayer life. The church needs to get back to the practice of prayer.
Finding Power in Prayer
Selected Passages from Acts
I need Thee Every Hour
Sweet Hour of Prayer
I Must Tell Jesus
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
The hymn book is filled with wonderful songs about the subject of prayer and each one of these were a vital part of the church that I grew up in but the problem is that the church never made the transition from the page of the hymnal to the page of church life.
Our church needs to be one of those places where the walls reverberate with the echoes of prayer and praying people. There is no mistaking a direct link between prayer and the outpouring of God’s power.
This morning as I was finishing some of the last touches on my message I felt impressed to not finish the message I was preparing for this evening. Tonight I want to focus you on the matter of prayer.
Satan’s main strategy has been this: Don’t call, don’t ask, don’t depend on God to do great things. You’ll get along fine if you just rely on your own cleverness and energy.
Satan is not afraid of churches that rely on themselves because in the end those kinds of churches will never have great impact on the spiritual realms. Satan fears a church that will depend on God because those churches are reaping what only God can do.
Devotion - Love
14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:14
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
1.) Prayer was vital to the life of the church - It was constantly a part of the church life
2.) Prayer is what draws people closer to God - Relational
3.) Prayer is part of a real spiritual life -
You cannot call yourself a New Testament Christian if you do not have a prayer life
Decision Making - Leadership
Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen Acts 1:24
As the Apostles pray here there is a difference in the situation. They are in the process of replacing Judas and they have set up specific criteria for the one who should take his place of leadership. The decision comes down to two men: Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas but before the final decision was made the Apostles prayed to God.
The church understood that there was a definite need to seek the guidance of God almighty before they made important decisions. It is vital that God is sought before the church makes major decisions that will effect the life of the church.
Demonstration - Power
AC 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon. Acts 9:40-43
Dedication - Commission
So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:3
6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. Acts 6:6
Discipline - Commitment
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. Acts 3:1
Directive - Priorities
AC 6:1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."