Summary: A look a how to pray and expect a response.
Prayer that brings response 2/27/08
In the beginning of Acts Chapter 3 Peter and John heal a beggar as they are going into the temple. They then take the time to preach to those who saw or, heard about it, and let them know that it is through the power of Jesus and not their own power that this man was healed. They point to the scripture predicting Jesus death and resurrection and implore them to recognize Jesus for who he was.
At the beginning of chapter four Peter and John are arrested for preaching in the name of Jesus. They are then brought before the Sanhedrin the next day to be judged. When asked about the healing Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly proclaimed that this good work was done in the name of Jesus. The Sanhedrin want to come up with some way to punish them but they cannot deny the fact that a miracle has taken place so they decide they must let them go. They do however threaten them by insisting that they never preach in the name of Jesus again, the punishment would most likely have been death or imprisonment. To this Peter poses the question is it better to listen to you or to God?
What a powerful message there is in verse 19. So many people today listen to the culture around them instead of God. The culture says keep your religion to yourself. What is good for you is not good for everyone. There are many ways to heaven. Who are you to judge? Why is your way the right way? I am only speaking of these texts to lead us to our text 4:23-26 but I cannot help but make this one point. Who are you listening to? Is it our culture or, is it God?
There was a man who was having some very serious financial problems. He went to his pastor and told him of all his troubles. The Pastor told him that if he would pray then God would provide for his needs. So the man went home that night and prayed “Dear Lord please let me win the lottery so that I can pay all my bills. Thank you. Amen.” So the lottery came and went and the man did not win. So he went back to his pastor to ask why God hadn’t answered his prayer. The pastor told him that you must have faith; if you have enough faith then God will always answer your prayer. So the man went home and prayed even harder. “Dear Lord Please let me win the lottery. I believe that you can hear me and that you will answer my prayer. Thank you. Amen.” The lottery again came and went and he still did not win. He went back to his pastor and asked why God had not answered his prayer. The pastor told him that if he would repent and beg God for help He would surely help him. So he went home and started praying, “Dear God forgive me of my sins, I want to live for you Lord, Lord just please...” All the sudden a loud voice came from heaven “WOULD YOU PLEASE BUY A TICKET!”
Some times God is waiting for us to take the necessary action so that He can bless us. Now buying a lottery ticket is not one of those actions, but it makes the point. Let’s take a look at our scripture. Acts 4:23-31
23 And being let go, tthey went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, uYou are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who 3by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
v‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.’
27 “For wtruly against xYour holy Servant Jesus, ywhom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 zto do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants athat with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, band that signs and wonders may be done cthrough the name of dYour holy Servant Jesus.”
31 And when they had prayed, ethe place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, fand they spoke the word of God with boldness.