Summary: 2d in the series "Patterns for Prayer." The disciples’ prayer in Acts 4:23 gives us a pattern for praying for boldness in the face of persecution.
Introduction Zig Ziglar story of boy that went with his mother to the old general store. He liked to sneak away from his mother and when no one was looking he would dip his finger into the large barrel of molasses. The storekeeper caught him doing this and decided to teach the boy a lesson. He picked up the boy by his britches and dunked him head first into the barrel of molasses and then set him out on the front porch of the store. But instead of crying the boy was out there praying, "God, give me the tongue to equal this opportunity."
Well in today’s story the disciples found themselves over a barrel, but instead of crying to God about it they pleaded with God to give them tongues equal to their opportunity.
Facing the threats of the most important people of their community, they didn’t even ask God to keep them from harm, but rather asked for boldness. Now that’s a pattern for prayer!
Interogative: But my question is: How could they do that? Better yet: How can I do that? How can I learn to pray the hard prayers like they did?
Transition: Well true to the series title, I’d like to look at this story as a pattern for praying the hard prayers. In this pattern I see four things we need to remember to embolden us to pray the hard prayers. The first is...
vv. 25-26 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:"’Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.
When I say that they remembered the Promise, I’m thinking primarily here about the promises of Scripture. In particular here they note that God had predicted that the rulers of the earth would stand against them but that the earthly rulers would not prevail, but that they would plot in vain against the Church led in Triumph by the Lord Jesus.
Don’t fail to take note of this foundational Pattern for prayer: Pray the Scripture, remember God’s Promises as you call out to Him. If you remember God’s Promises you will be emboldened to pray the hard prayers.
Armin Gesswein learned about praying God’s promises in a hayloft. Armin was a longtime Pastor, interdenominational prayer organizer and founder of the "Revival Prayer fellowship." When he began as a young Lutheran pastor trying to establish a church on Long Island and having a tough go of it, he had an elderly gentleman in his church fellowship--a retired blacksmith, 50 years his senior. Armin had noticed that when this man prayed, things happened. Wanting to learn, Armin asked if he could join him in prayer. At the old blacksmiths home he followed him into the barn and into the hayloft. Armin prayed and then Ambrose Whaley prayed. Armin said "You have some kind of secret in praying. Would you share it with me?" Young man," the old blacksmith said, "learn to plead the promises of God." The old man had knelt between two bales of hay. Open on each was a large Bible, as he prayed he layed a knarled hand on the pages of each, and recalled the promises found in those pages. Armin recalled: I learned more about prayer in that haymow than in all my years of preparation for the ministry. (Harold J. Sala, "Heroes: People who made a difference in our World")
I believe in using the Scriptures in prayer, not as some kind of magic spell, not as though the Bible is our ticket to force God to act in a way that we wish, but to get our hearts right before Him, to remind us of the nature of the God we serve and to build our own faith. Remember his promises and you will be better prepared to pray the hard prayers, secondly we must remember...
v. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them
vv. 27-28 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
To gain courage to face the future and to encourage themselves to pray the hard prayers, the disciples remembered the faithfulness of God in the past
On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday this year, the central dining facility in Camp Udairi (Kuwait) caught fire, flames quickly spread to engulf all five tents and completely destroyed them in less than 30 minutes.