Summary: God will shake our lives in a good way, when we ask Him for courage and power to do His will.
Intro: Peter, John, and the other believers gathered together and prayed a prayer that shook the Church. I’ve never experienced a church-quake in response to my prayers. Why do you suppose God did this for the early church? Perhaps it was God’s way of saying, “I have heard you and I will gladly give you what you have asked for.” I think most of us probably know that powerful prayer isn’t necessarily about saying all the right words. Prayer becomes powerful when it is in harmony with the will of God. Peter and John did not come up with some magic new prayer (i.e. The Prayer of Jabez). God looks on the heart and knows when His people are serious about doing things His way. They simply called on God, asking Him to do what He had already promised to do: give them boldness to speak His word, and stretch out His hand to heal and perform miracles. I believe God was very pleased by their response to opposition. It is almost as if He jumped up from His throne and said, “Yes! They get it! They understand what I want them to do, and they know they need power from heaven in order to do it! Yes!!!” Maybe that is what caused the quake- who knows? Here is the main message I wish to communicate today:
Prop: God will shake our lives in a good way, when we ask Him for courage and power to do His will.
Interrogative: Now, what does a life-shaking prayer look like?
TS: We can identify certain components that are basic to hearing from God. Let’s look at five of them today.
I. Life-Shaking Prayer Recognizes That God is in Control (24)
"Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them” (24).
-These words are typical of a Jewish prayer. Very similar words are found throughout the OT, recognizing God as Creator and Ruler. Since God has the sovereign right and power to rule over all He has made, then none of His creation can stand up against His will for even a moment. God has all authority over man. If that is true, then we might ask why so many people get away with opposing God’s will? It is not God’s will for innocent people to suffer or be murdered; yet it happens all over the world. It is not God’s will for people to take advantage of one another, but many do. It is not God’s will for people to die from cancer, disease, or other terminal illnesses, but sometimes they do. Sometimes we have trouble understanding that God has everything under control and that His will is being fulfilled when we see all the problems around us.
-In fact, some people come to the conclusion that either God doesn’t care or, if He does care, He cannot do anything about our problems. However, this was not the perspective of the believers in the 1st century church in Jerusalem. They said, “Lord, You made us all and You are actively working to accomplish Your will on this earth. Nobody can stop You, let alone these religious leaders of the temple.” God is our Creator and has power over everything in heaven, on earth, and everywhere in between. We have a part in seeing His will done. In fact, when Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray, He told them to say, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Seeking God’s will is something we say and it is something we do. How does God’s kingdom come? It comes by people recognizing the rule of God in their lives. Even though God is King of the universe, His kingdom only comes when people invite Him to rule their lives.
-The disciples had certainly done this already. So now by recognizing God as Creator and sovereign Lord, they are declaring that the God who rules their lives also has power over everybody else- even those who try to oppose Him. God is in control!
-TS: That leads us to the 2nd point:
II. Life-Shaking Prayer Understands that God Works Through Opposition (25-29a)
-Peter and John had just been face to face with the enemies of Jesus. However, they understood that there will always be those who oppose God and His will.
-V.26 says, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.” This is a quote from Psalm 2. It starts out like this: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?”
-Just as King David had written hundreds of years earlier, so the apostles echo the question: “Why do people think they can fight against God?” We know that Pharaoh tried it, and it cost Him his life and kingdom.