Summary: A Canada Day sermon, looking at our heritage and our potential
It was his custom to start his day with prayer and Scripture reading. And that morning was no exception; he felt that before he attended to the business of his country that first he must attend to the business of his soul. And as he read from God’s word his heart and eyes were drawn to Psalm 72:8, "He shall have dominion from sea to sea.". The thirty-three Fathers of Confederation had gathered in Charlottetown to discuss and draft the terms of the British North America Act, there were many suggestions on what to call this new "United Canada." That morning Samuel Leonard Tilley had read from the Bible and became so convinced that Canada should be a nation under God, that when he came down to the conference session, he presented his suggestion based upon his morning Bible reading the "Dominion of Canada." The other Fathers readily agreed and accepted his inspired concept.
If we look around our fair nation today on her 124 birthday it because painfully obvious that God no longer has dominion over this country. What would it take to change a country? You ever wonder that? Listen to what God tells us in his word.
2 Chronicles 7:14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.
But how are we to pray, is it as simply as adding a line to our bedtime prayers, and God bless our country? The early church was defined by prayer, over and over again we read how they prayed, why they prayed when they prayed. And because of that prayer they were able to change not just a country but eventually the face of the entire world.
In Acts 4 the church faces it’s first major crisis. The two major leaders of the church, Peter and John have been thrown into Jail for preaching the gospel; they are released after being ordered not to preach again. Although they didn’t quite promise to follow the order instead they asked a question, a question which we should each memorize and ask on a regular basis and it was found in Acts 4:19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? As soon as our two heroes are released they high tail it back to the other believers and called a prayer meeting. When Larry read this morning she read an account of that prayer meeting. This morning we are going to take a look at how the early church became a powerful church in bold prayer.
1) They Were Agreed in Prayer Acts 4:24 Then all the believers were united as they lifted their voices in prayer: The key word here of course is the word “Together” When they started to pray they had obviously thought back to that incredibly powerful promise that Jesus had made to them in Matthew 18:19 “I also tell you this: If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. Now John & Peter must have figured that if two was good then a whole bunch must be better so they rushed back to the entire group and said hey guys and girls this is something that we need to pray about together.
It is critical that we are not only a church that prays but that we are a church that prays with unity. You think how confusing it must be for God when some churches pray. Like this group is praying for one thing and group “B” is praying for something that is diametrically opposed to group “A”. Meanwhile the group in the back is praying for something that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the situation..
One of the major criteria if a church is going to go somewhere is that they go there together. In reality a church is like a bunch of people who get together and charter a plane. If the people in the front want to go to Vancouver but the people in the back want to go to Dublin and the people over the wings want to go to Orlando who does the pilot listen to. The people who yell the loudest? The people who pay the most? The people who plead the most earnestly? It’s only when all the passengers get together and decide on a common destination that the plane can take off.
I am convinced that one of the major reasons that churches don’t grow is that they can’t figure out what they want God to do. If we are to succeed and become everything that God wants us to become then we are going to need some common goals and some common dreams and we are going to have to pray together, and not just physically. In the years ahead we need to make sure that whatever we do as a congregation, members and adherents, young and old, new comers and old timers that we have an God given goal and that we all pull together in that direction. We could take a lesson from the mule who has learned that you can’t pull and kick at the same time. And we will need to pay in that direction as well. A powerful church will pray together.