Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Many people come with a grocery list during prayer. Some want to impress the hearers with their flowery language. Well that does not impress God one bit. In essence your prayers reflect what you believe about God. Do we pray like the early apostles or ...

Opening illustration: One day a handicapped woman (due to her physical state could not go to church) was reading the newspaper and came across an article about the ministry of D.L. Moody and the Revival that was taking place in the United States. Even though she had never heard of him before, she began to pray and ask God to send Moody to her church in England. Sometime later, Moody decided to take some time off and go to England on vacation. He really hadn’t planned on doing any preaching while he was there. But he met a pastor in London, who persuaded him to come and preach in his Church one Sunday. That afternoon the invalid woman’s sister came home from church and told her that D.L. Moody had preached during the morning service and would also be preaching in the Evening service. When she heard this, she spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in prayer, praying that God would do something special. In his journal Moody made the statement that the people of that church were the deadest group of people that he had ever preached to. But that night, as He stood to deliver the message he could tell that something was different. That night several people confessed their sins to the Lord and accepted him as their Lord and Savior. Moody left town the next day to go to Ireland, but received a telegram from the pastor of the church begging him to come back and preach some more because Revival had broken out. Moody got back on the train and went back to London, where He preached 10 consecutive nights, and hundreds of people were saved. All because of the powerful prayers of one invalid woman who couldn’t go to church, but wanted to see and experience a Revival.

Let us turn to Acts 4 and catch up with the narrative of how and what the early apostles prayed for …

Introduction: Your prayers reflect what you believe about God. Small prayers reflect a small God. Sometimes we may wonder whether our big prayers sound too glorious or ambiguous and one may be perceived as a con man. We must understand that our prayers must reflect that it is not about us but God alone who did it. Most of the time people come with a grocery list for prayer or start telling a story about themselves in prayer. Let us not forget what it says in Psalm 100: 4 “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” We must learn to praise and worship Him passionately in Spirit and in truth. When we pray, the word of God tells us that the Spirit of God will give us utterances and sometimes we might just groan while praying. Considering all these aspects of prayer let us learn from the early apostles …

What kind of prayers should we pray?

1. Pray for the POSSIBLE (vs. 13, 29, 31; Exodus 14: 8; Ephesians 3: 12) ~ Pray for boldness

Praying for something that we know is possible in the physical realm too. But here they were not asking for physical (worldly) boldness but spiritual boldness to speak and articulate the truth to believers and non-believers, knowing they could face persecution and even death for the same. There is a drastic difference between physical and spiritual boldness. Physical boldness you acquire through your education, job, status quo, eloquence and being relevant in society. It may take years to build on it. Whereas spiritual boldness doesn’t need any props from the physical world but requires your dependence on the Holy Spirit. Apparently it just goes to show how much time you have spent with God. Have you met/seen Him and been in His presence? Let us not forget what it says in 1 Timothy 1: 7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

This word properly denotes “openness” or “confidence in speaking.” It stands opposed to “hesitancy,” and to “equivocation” in declaring our sentiments. Here it means that, in spite of danger and opposition, they avowed their doctrines without any attempt to conceal or disguise them. Their boldness and success in the ministry, as well as in everything else, will depend far more on honest, genuine, thorough conviction of the truth than on the endowments of talent and learning, and the arts and skill of eloquence. No man should attempt to preach without such a thorough conviction of truth; and no man who has it will preach in vain.

They do not pray, Lord let us go away from our work, now that it is become dangerous, but, Lord, give us thy grace to go on steadfastly in our work, and not to fear the face of man. Those who desire Divine aid and encouragement may depend upon having them, and they ought to go forth, and go on, in the strength of the Lord God. God gave a sign of acceptance of their prayers. The place was shaken, that their faith might be established and unshaken. God gave them greater degrees of his Spirit; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than ever; by which they were not only encouraged, but enabled to speak the word of God with boldness. When they find the Lord God help them by his Spirit, they know they shall not be confounded.

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