Summary: The Focus of Prayer
A. WHAT WAS THE FOCUS OF PRAYER?
1. We should pray for leadership. “O Lord . . . You know every heart. Show us which . . . You have chosen to replace Judas” (Acts 1:24, NLT).
2. That the Holy Spirit will minister among us. “They prayed for the new Christians to receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15, NLT).
3. That sinners will be saved. Paul prayed for Agrippa, “I pray to God that . . . you . . . might become the same as I, except for these chains” (Acts 26:29, NLT).
4. That missionaries will go. “So pray the Lord . . . of the harvest . . . to send more workers for His fields” (Matt. 9:38, NLT). “So after more fasting and prayer . . . sent them” (Acts 13:3, NLT).
5. For physical safety. “And prayed for daylight” (Acts 27:29, NLT).
6. For healing. “Prayed for him and laying hands on him to heal him” (Acts 28:8).
7. For food. The ship to Rome, they fasted, then Paul said, “Please eat something . . . gave thanks to God before them all” (Acts 27:34-35, NLT).
8. For a safe journey. “When Paul saw them, he thanked God” (Acts 28:15, NLT).
B. WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THEY PRAYED?
2. An earthquake. “After this prayer, the building . . . shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31). “Paul and Silas were praying (proseuchomai) and singing hymns (hymnos) . . . suddenly there was a great earthquake” (Acts 16:25-26, NLT).
3. Resuscitation (return to life). “Peter . . . knelt and prayed . . . she sat up” (Acts 9:40).
4. Healing. “Peter and John went to the Temple at the hour of prayer . . . in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk” (Acts 3:1, 6, ELT).
5. Miraculous release. “The church prayed very earnestly for him (Peter)” (Acts 12:5, NLT).
6. Prayed for leaders. “Who (Apostles) prayed for them (7 deacons) as they laid their hands on them?” (Acts 6:6, NLT).
7. Appointed church leaders. “Paul and Barnabas appointed church leaders . . . with prayer and fasting” (Acts 14:23, ELT).
8. Prayed for repentance. “Pray to the Lord, perhaps He will forgive your evil thoughts” (Acts 8:22, NLT).
C. WHO PRAYED?
1. All the church. “They joined with the other believers . . . and in prayers” (Acts 2:12, NLT).
2. The apostles (leaders) (Acts 1:14; 6:4; 13:3).
5. Cornelius. “A Roman army offer . . . a man who regularly prays” (Acts 10:1-2, NLT).
6. Women’s prayer meeting. “To the river bank where some met for prayer” (Acts 16:13, ELT).
D. INSTRUCTION FOR PRAYER
1. The gospel will be successful. “That the word of the Lord may spread on and triumph” (2 Thess. 3:1).
2. For the Holy Spirit. “The heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Eph. 3:19).
3. For Israel. “My heart’s prayer . . . it that they (Israel) may be saved” (Rom. 10:1).
4. Pray for everything. “Praying through all prayer and supplication on every occasion” (Eph. 6:18).
5. Pray for preaching. “Pray . . . for me . . . in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim . . . the gospel” (Eph. 6:18-19).
6. Pray for boldness. “Lord . . . grant to thy servant to speak . . . with all boldness” (Acts 4:29).
7. Pray for healing. “Pray over him, anointing him with oil . . . the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:15).
8. Pray for guidance. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God” (James 1:5).
9. Pray for protection for pastor and missionaries. “Strive together . . . in your prayer for my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea” (Rom. 15:30-31).
10. For maturity in others. “We are praying . . . to supply what is lacking in your faith” (1 Thess. 3:10).
11. For discernment. “My prayers for your . . . discernment” (Phil. 1:2).
12. To know God’s will. “We have not ceased to pray . . . you may be filled with the knowledge of His will” (Col. 1:9).