Summary: One of the anchors for our soul is prayer. We see (1) God set things in motion when we pray, and (2) God set up His purposes when we pray.
Acts 2:42-47 ANCHOR - God Can Use Your Prayers
Acts 2 records the birth of the church. It was something new... something they have never experience before. It was the start of a new ministry. And the Bible tells us - they devoted them to SOME things... and the result was - verse 47 "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
We are starting a new ministry. Something we’ve not experienced before. And we are going to follow this tested formula in Acts 2 - devoting ourselves to the teaching of the Word, to fellowship, to breaking of bread and to prayer.
These are anchors to the ministry... but not just important elements to a ministry, but to our very soul. So we’re going into a series of 3 sessions - ANCHORS FOR OUR SOULS... (I’ve lump fellowship & breaking of bread together... coming together as a Body of Christ.)
I’ll start from the bottom of the list - GOD CAN USE MY PRAYERS.
Since God is sovereign, do my prayers really matter all that much?
Isn’t God going to do what He wants anyway? Most people believe just that, even without admitting it. They prove they believe this in their prayer life, or lack of prayer life.
Can my prayers actually change things? Can God’s will on earth be frustrated or not accomplished if I don’t pray? Does God need me to pray or does He just want me to pray?
Some would argue an omnipotent God doesn’t "need" anything, including our prayers. But these and other questions deserve answers.
I Need To Know
When God says, "Pray," I want to know it will matter. I’m not into religious exercises and my time is valuable. So is yours.
If God is going to do something regardless of whether or not I pray, then He doesn’t need me to ask Him and I don’t need to waste my time.
We could say: If everything is just going to happen anyway, then let’s take a nap and let it all just happen.
· I need to know if that cancerous cyst in my body dissolved because I prayed.
· I need to know if I was spared in the earthquake because someone prayed.
· I need to know if our friend came out of his coma with a restored brain because we prayed.
· I need to know if my prayers can make a difference between heaven and hell for someone.
SCRIPTURES REVEALED TO US 2 FACTS
Book of Acts tells us - (1) God Set Things In Motion When I Pray... prison doors opened, chains fell off, people bringing in their possessions to share with the poor.... Lives are changed, miracles happen, the sick are healed...
John Wesley even puts it this way, "God does nothing on the earth save in answer to believing prayer."
If that is true, I’ll lose a little sleep for that. I’ll change my lifestyle for that. I’ll stop whatever I’m doing in order to pray. I’ll even miss a meal or two.
Prayer Sets in Motion the things that our strength cannot..., our hands cannot...
Nothing moves, until prayer is started. But when prayer is started, even Satan’s strongholds can be knock down by the force of it.
I agree with E. M. Bounds when he said: "God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil. The prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock of heaven... by which God carries on His great work upon earth."
If you believe that, you’ll pray more. In fact, you will most likely pray with greater faith too.
(2) God Set Up His Purposes When I Pray...
God uses your prayer to accomplish His will. In 1 Kings 18 - we find the story of God using a person’s prayer to accomplish His will. It is the account of Elijah praying for rain after three years of drought.
1 Kings 18:1 "After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land."
James 5:17-18 also mentions this occasion:
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
We know from James’ account that not only did Elijah’s prayers bring rain, but his prayers also stopped the rain three years earlier.
In 1 Kings 18:1 - God asked Elijah to see King Ahab, because "I will send rain on the face of the earth. And in 18:42 we see Elijah climbing to the top of Mt Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees, and PRAYED.