Summary: We tend to neglect the most powerful weapon we have -- prayer. God delights in answering prayers in harmony with who he is. Let us pray!
1. The Brooklyn Tabernacle
* Originally established in 1847 as Presbyterian and grew to be about 6000 members; Nondenominational today
* When Jim and Carol Cymbala moved to the congregation in 1971 it had dwindled to 30 members
* They had to work secular jobs to make ends meet
* Jim began a Tuesday night prayer meeting in which some Tuesdays he was the only one to come
* Today 1000's line up beginning at 5 PM for the 7 PM prayer service
* Each Sunday -- Three, Two Hour worship Services in their 3200 seat auditorium
* Jim says he doesn't especially like living there but feels God called him to minister to the outcasts of the city -- prostitutes; drug abusers; Homeless, etc.
* They attest to the conversions of hundreds as a direct result of prayer
2. The Delight of Prayer
* God Acts when we pray -- 2 Chronicles 7.14 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
* God Delights to Answer Our Prayers
Micah 7.18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.
* We Delight When We Know He Answers (even "No")
o Psalm 37.4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
o Nehemiah 1.11a O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name,
3. The Dangers of Prayer
* Manipulating God -- selfish reasons; congregational growth; etc.
* Frustrations when things don't go our way
o Kingdom, not Convenience
o Action, Not Ease
4. The Distancing from Prayer
Restoration Movement was to Restore NT Christianity -- the Book of Acts is BIG
What about the emphasis on Prayer we see in the NT Church?
Acts 1.13-14, 24 -- Waiting for HS; Replacing Judas
13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
24 And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen
2.42 -- Lifestyle
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
4.24-31 -- Boldness after the Release of Peter and John
24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
"'Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed'--
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus." 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
6.4 -- Priority of Leaders
4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
10.9 -- Conversion of Gentiles in Answer to Peter's Prayer
9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.
12.5-12 -- Peter's Release from Prison/Execution
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, "Dress yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the Iron Gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."