Summary: When you start a new church you don’t have seasoned prayer warriors in that church who will pray in the blessings and the protection of God. We were successful because we convinced a few Christians in other churches to pray us through our early problems.
"PRAYING THROUGH" YOUR PROBLEMS
Moses prayed and God spared Israel from judgment.
Joshua prayed and God caused the sun to stand still.
Hannah prayed and God gave her a baby boy.
Solomon prayed and God gave him wisdom.
Elijah prayed and God sent fire down from Heaven.
Jonah prayed and God brought him out of the belly of the whale.
Peter prayed and God raised Dorcas from the dead.
The thief on the cross prayed and God gave him eternal life.
These Christians prayed and God set Peter free from prison.
I. THE CHURCH HAD PROBLEMS
A. PROBLEMS FROM WITHOUT
1. The church was started in the most unlikely place in the world.
2. Jesus had said begin at Jerusalem. (Acts 1:8)
3. But, Jerusalem was hardened.
4. They wouldn’t even hear the prophets, much less these Christians.
5. Do you remember how Jesus wept over Jerusalem?
Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
6. They had killed their own prophets.
7. They had killed Jesus.
8. Now the disciples were supposed to go there and start a church.
9. It was a hard field to work!
B. PROBLEMS FROM WITHIN
1. The treasurer of the church had been stealing money out of the receipts and had finally committed suicide.
2. The most prominent leader of the church had denied the faith and denied that he had ever known the Lord.
3. They were commanded by the officials that they were not to teach or even speak at all in the name of their founder (Jesus).
4. Hypocrisy and lying had been discovered in the membership of the church which threatened the power of their witness.
5. There was racial strife which caused a murmuring in the membership
6. Their favorite and most faithful deacon (Stephen)had been murdered.
7. There was a government hit-man (Saul of Tarsus) who was tracking down individual members of the body.
8. There was conflict over who the gospel should be given to. Peter had broken with tradition and was preaching to untouchables.
9. Now, Peter had been put in prison and Herod was planning on killing him to make a bunch of rich Jews happy.
C. THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS HAD PROBLEMS
1. As long as the devil is permitted to live the church will have problems.
2. As God’s people we must learn to pray in the midst of problems.
3. As God’s people we must continue to minister in the midst of problems.
4. We have to follow God’s Word in overcoming problems.
5. The devil is going to attack the church, you can be sure of that.
6. But praise God: "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."
7. In the midst of problems we can keep going.
8. In the midst of problems we can say:
1Cor 15:57 "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
II. THE CHURCH "PRAYED THROUGH" ITS PROBLEMS
A. NOTICE WHAT THE CHURCH WAS DOING IN ACTS 12
1. They have all of these insurmountable problems
2. The normal pastor of our day would have resigned and moved away.
3. Most modern day Christians would have given up on the church.
4. But these people had a prayer meeting.
B. IT WAS TIME TO PRAY
1. It wasn’t time to quit.
2. It wasn’t time to run and hide.
3. It wasn’t time to disband the church.
4. It wasn’t time to fire the preacher and hire a diplomat.
5. It was time to pray.
C. FACING PROBLEMS REQUIRES PRAYER
1. I’ve started two different churches.
2. Both times I asked everyone I knew to pray.
3. I had people offer me money and I said, "Keep your money, just pray."
4. I knew if I turned down their money that they would know I was serious about asking for prayer.
5. I knew they could give me a few thousand dollars and forget about me, but that wasn’t what I needed.
6. I needed prayer.
7. I knew that God would not only supply the finances, but He would supply everything else if I could just get people to pray for us.
8. When you start a new church you don’t have seasoned prayer warriors in that church who will pray in the blessings and the protection of God.
9. We were successful because we convinced Christians to pray through our problems.
10. It takes prayer to start a church, and it takes prayer to keep one going. What are you doing to keep your church going?