Summary: One of the key needs in churches today is for the congregation to partner together in prayer
September 21, 2002
I. The Power of Prayer
A. San Francisco General Hospital study
1. Cardiology Dept. – Dr. Randy Byrd
a.) Patients were divided into two groups
1.) 192 patients were in the Prayed for group
2.) 201 patients were in the Not prayed for group
b.) All patients were in the coronary ICU
2. No one on staff was given the group information
3. Prayer groups were given information
a.) Prayer groups were scattered across the country
b.) First names of patients and their diagnoses were all that was given to the groups
B. The dramatic results
1. The prayed for group
a.) Significantly fewer complications
b.) Significantly fewer deaths
2. The not prayed for group
a.) Five times more likely to have infections
b.) Three times more likely to have lung condition that would cause heart failure
C. Final conclusions
1. Prayer really works!
2. If secular hospitals can make use of prayer – Why shouldn’t we as the church use prayer to our greatest advantage?
II. The Church needs to be effective
A. We are God’s people and His representatives in this community
1. People are dying and going to Hell – Eternal separation from God
2. We are to make an eternal impact on this world – This is not a choice
B. The purpose of the church
1. The church must do four things to become and maintain health
a.) Win the lost
b.) Build strong believers
c.) Equip workers for service
d.) Multiply shepherd leaders
2. The key to being effective for God is starting with prayer
I. Our Accountability to one another increases
“They all joined together constantly in prayer” Acts 1:14a
A. Praying together creates an atmosphere of accountability
1. We are called to be “joined together”
a.) The early church was totally united in spirit, in mind and in purpose. The original meaning of joined together was to have oneness of heart
b.) When we partner together in prayer, God begins to bind us together. The bonds of prayer and praise create strength within a church.
2. God moves when His people pray
a.) The church becomes more “tight knit” as God draws us near to Him
b.) The church grows in faith as God does His work
c.) If we ever want to see God’s hand do great things in the life of this church, we must be united in prayer
B. Praying for others contributes to our accountability
William Law once said this about prayer: “There is nothing that makes us love a person so much as prayer for them.”
1. We are accountable to Christ
a.) We have been bought back from sin by Christ Himself. He has called us to “go and sin no more.”
b.) We either help or hurt the cause of Christ with the words that we speak and the things that we do. If a person becomes destructive in their words and action to the Kingdom they are accountable to the rest of the Body.
2. We are accountable to the church
a.) You have been given a place within the fellowship. You are a part of this body of believers. You are part of this church.
b.) Are you helping the cause of Christ In the life of the church or are you harming the work of Jesus?
II. Our Availability to God increases
“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
A. We are to devote ourselves to prayer
1. Prayer must be a vital part of our lives
a.) Prayer is your means of communicating with Christ. It is your link to Him and your way of sharing your joys and struggles with Him
b.) Prayer is literally the lifeline of your spiritual walk and without prayer your spiritual life will grow cold, stale and dead.
2. Our dedication to prayer reveals our devotion to God
a.) The revelation of prayer
When we set some time aside to pray we are revealing to God and everyone else where our priorities really are in life. Is prayer in a place of priority in your life?
b.) Quote: “Our failure to think of prayer as a privilege may be partly due to the fact that we can pray any time. The door to prayer is open so continuously that we fail to avail ourselves of an opportunity which is always there.” – Harry Emerson Fosdick
B. We make ourselves available when we pray
1. Prayer is your grand opportunity
a.) Prayer is your opportunity to carry the pains and problems of earth to the throne of heaven.
b.) Prayer allows you to give you burdens over to God and find the strength that he has to support you.