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Summary: ...a church will pray and pray for a miracle to take place and then when it happens…they don’t believe it.

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INCREASE OUR FAITH

Text: Luke 17:5

There is a legend of a small town in which there were no liquor stores or nightclubs. Eventually, however, a nightclub was built right on Main Street. One of the churches, in the area, was so disturbed that they conducted several all-night prayer meetings, and asked the Lord to burn down the nightclub.

Lightning struck the nightclub a short time later, and it was completely destroyed by fire. The owner, knowing how the Believers had prayed, sued the church for the damages.

His attorney claimed that their prayers had caused the lightning and fire.

The church people, on the other hand, hired a lawyer and contested the charges.

During the trial the judge declared, "It’s the opinion of this court that the owner of the nightclub is the one who really believes in prayer while the church members do not!"

Here is a situation where people who don’t have faith will find God to be faithful! And yet, those who claim to have faith really don’t.

Can we see this as a good, or fair, example of faith in people who go to church? The answer is yes because there is a very similar story to this in the Book of Acts, chapter 12.

The story (you can read about) has it that the Apostle James had been arrested and killed by King Herod. Later, Peter was also arrested by King Herod and was locked up in a jail with 16 soldiers watching over him. Peter was chained between two of the soldiers and it looked impossible for him to escape.

But how many of you know that our Lord loves to deal with impossible situations and make them possible?

The story in Acts 12 tells us that the church folks were "earnestly praying" for Peter to be released. It was an all night Holy Ghost prayer meeting.

But what they didn’t expect to happen was that Peter would be miraculously set free from his chains.

Peter was even escorted by an angel out of the jail. He later showed up at the front door of this all night prayer meeting, and was met at the door by a servant girl named Rhoda.

She was so surprised and excited that she forgot to let Peter inside and ran to tell everyone that he was set free.

You know what happened - this God fearing bunch of prayer intercessors told Rhoda,

“You are out of your mind.”

I would suggest that what happened in this story is all too commonplace in many churches today. That is, a church will pray and pray for a miracle to take place and then when it happens…they don’t believe it.

One of the most common prayers in a church is for revival to break out.

And just like Acts 12, the Holy Ghost shows up at the front door of the church, and some folks don’t want to believe what has happened.

The point is this -

1. God wants us to pray in faith.

2. We need to be expecting something whenever we do pray the prayer of faith.

Folks, faith makes things happen.

Faith makes -

· Heaven real

· God Real

· Life real-ly exciting.

But we can’t have it both ways.

If we are going to pray in faith, we gotta’ believe it’s gonna’ happen!

Our Key Verse makes this simple.

And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."

That’s what the Apostles asked Jesus and that should be our prayer, also!

The reason why the Apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith was because of what Jesus had just told them. Jesus had just told them to forgive their brother 7 times in one day. They had a hard time with that.

And likewise, we do too. I know people who can’t forgive a person 7 times in a lifetime, much less 7 times in one day. What Jesus was teaching to them (and is teaching to us today) is very difficult for us to learn.

If we are ever going to understand all that Jesus wants and expects from us, we are going to have to

INCREASE OUR FAITH!

Otherwise we aren’t going to make it.

James 1:6-7

6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

Our faith needs to be increased so that whenever we come to a crisis, in our life, we will be ready for it.

But that’s not easy, is it?

Why is faith so difficult for us to have sometimes? One reason is because we are always loosing faith in people.

Example: Someone will promise to meet us somewhere and they don’t show up. No phone call. No explanation. No apology.

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Stephen Stells

commented on Sep 26, 2006

Good

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