Summary: 5th in the series "Patterns for Prayer." Considers the question of why God performs miracles in order to help us to know how to pray for the miraculous.

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Have you ever heard a miracle? Not heard of a miracle, but heard a miracle? This morning you’re going to. We’re going to play for you a portion of a Sunday school class at First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on January 17, 1993.

The teacher of this class in Reverend Duane Miller. Duane had prematurely retired from pastoring three years earlier because of a virus which penetrated the myelin sheath around the nerves in his vocal cords, reducing his speech to a raspy whisper, He’d been to the best doctors in the world and not only had he been told that there was no hope to restore his voice, but that eventually even the hoarse whisper would be lost.

On Friday January 15th Duane had gotten word that he’d lost the side job he’d been doing consisting of legal transcription because the lawyers feared that if he were ever called to testify, his wheezy voice would hurt their case. That same day he received letters from two publishers saying they loved his manuscript but that since he was unknown, they couldn’t promote his book without him going on a speaking tour, unfortunately, both publishers said, they didn’t see how he could have any future as a Christian author.

On that day Duane said that he told the Lord he was ready to go home, there was nothing left for him on earth. It was in that mental state that Duane went to teach his Sunday school class on Psalm 103. Because he was such a popular teacher--over 200 were in the class that morning--they taped each of his lessons for those who had to miss them. Here’s part of the tape from that Sunday.

(Find the audio file at the bottom of the web page:

Does God still perform Miracles? Duane Miller and 200 Sunday School students would answer a resounding, YES!

The question I’d like to ask this morning is Why? You say well that’s not the right question, we want to know how--or better yet, how can I get my name on the list of upcoming miracles. The reason I want to ask why does God perform miracles is because I think the the question of "why" logically precedes "how." Our sermon series is titled "Patterns for Prayer." And today’s message is titled "Prayers that raise the dead.’ I’d like to suggest that the pattern for miraculous prayers begins with the question of "why does God perform miracles?" Because when we understand what part miracles play in God’s plan then we can understand what miracles to ask for, then we can understand how miracles might be a part of God’s plan in our lives.

I’d like to further suggest (as you knew I would) that miracles probably serve the same purposes in God’s plan today that they did in the time of the early church. This morning we’re looking at what from a human perspective is perhaps the most miraculous of the Miracles in the book of Acts. In today’s story we see literally, a prayer that raised the dead. As we look at this story I’d like to try to understand why God performed this miracle so that we can understand better how to pray for the miraculous.

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