Sermons

Summary: Prayer is powerful

PRAYER

Illus:

The year was 1820 and Peter Richley was a grateful man. He had survived one of the strangest and most harrowing events known to mankind. The ship which he had been traveling on sank. He was rescued. By some strange twist of circumstance, however, this ship sank.

He was rescued again. But, this third ship sank likewise. He was rescued for a third time. Yet, his fourth ship of passage soon sank. And unbelievably, he was rescued for a fourth time, but this fifth ship sank as well.

It would have been laughable had it not been so serious. On the high seas, however, he floated with the serene confidence that somehow God did not want him to die. And sure enough, as if on cue, another ship came by and answered his call for help.

This ocean liner, The City of Leeds, was named after it’s British city of orgin. It was bound from England to Australia and traveled the same sea lane as Peter Richley’s downed ships. The crew of The City of Leeds hoisted Peter aboard. Dry clothing was provided to Peter. The ship’s doctor gave him a cursory exam, pronounced him fit, and then asked an unusual favor.

There’s a lady on board who booked passage to Australia, the doctor explained. She’s looking for her son who disappeared years ago. She’s dying and she’s asking to see her son. She knows everybody on board and since you’re the only newcomer, would you pretend to be her son?

Peter agreed. After all, his life had now been saved for the fifth time. He followed the doctor below deck and entered into a cabin. There on a small bed lay a frail woman with silvered-hair. She was obviously suffering from a very high fever. Deliriously, she was crying out. Please God. Let me see my son before I die. I must see my son!

The ship’s doctor gently pushed the young man toward the bed. Soon, however, Peter Richley began sobbing. For lying there on that bed was the reason that he couldn’t seem to die. Here was the lifeline that had kept him from drowning five times. For lying on that bed was none other than Sarah Richley who had p...

Scripture:

Text: MARK 11: 22-26

22 Jesus told his disciples:

Have faith in God! 23 If you have faith in God and don’t doubt, you can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. 24 Everything you ask for in prayer will be yours, if you only have faith.

25-26 Whenever you stand up to pray, you must forgive what others have done to you. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins.[d]

Acts 12:5 5 While Peter was being kept in jail, the church never stopped praying to God for him.

Sermon intro

Here Peter is waiting for whatever Herod may have in store for him. Escape by his own means is not an option. He is being guarded by 16 soldiers that work 6 hour shifts in fours. One soldier is chained to each side of him and the other two are standing outside the cell to make sure he can’t get out. Not only that but there are multiple guard posts and locked gates that must be passed in order to get out of this prison facility. Fortunately Peter didn’t have to rely on his own means. There was a group of believers fervently praying for Peter’s release. Let’s look at six aspects of the power of prayer as we find them in this passage.

1. Prayer breaks the bonds that hold us. V. 7

Peter was bound under incredible circumstances. Two guards chained to him 24 hours a day. Yet God broke those bonds and allowed Peter the opportunity to be free of them. God has done something even greater for us in that He has broken the bonds of sin and death. We as believers no longer have to be bound by our sin and its eternal consequence.

2. Prayer gives guidance when we don’t know the way. V. 8-10

It might be a fair guess to assume that Peter did not know his way around this particular prison. He needed guidance to get away from the place he was bound. We too need guidance in our lives as we grow and mature in the Lord. If we do not follow the guidance the Lord provides we will likely continue to linger in the very bonds that have already been broken for us and remain under the influence of the enemy.

3. Prayer conquers the captivity of the enemy. V. 11

Peter could have had his bonds broken and even had guidance out of the prison but unless he grasped the reality of his deliverance he might still live as though it were only an illusion or dream. Sometimes we go through life not realizing the reality that we have been delivered from the enemy. We no longer have to be subject to the captivity we were once held in. We must move forward in freedom towards the prize.

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