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Summary: Acts Series: About the importance of corporate prayer as a church family. Great alliteration [borrowed] and a cameo by Rhoda, the only blonde mentioned in the Bible!

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Praying with the Early Church

Acts 12:1-17

[comedy of Rhoda, only blonde mentioned in the Bible!]

Introduction: In Connecting with God, Herb Miller tells the story of a nightclub opening on Main Street in a small town. Upon hearing the news, the only church in that town organized an all-night prayer meeting. The members asked God to burn down the club. Within a few minutes, lightning struck the club, and it burned to the ground. The club owner sued the church, which denied responsibility for the destruction of the club.

After hearing both sides, the judge said, “It seems that wherever the guilt may lie, the nightclub owner believes in prayer, while the church doesn’t.”

My question to you is this: Do we really believe in prayer? [be surprised when answer comes?] Jesus said to grow in faith/…help thou my unbelief/teach us to pray!

If the same thing were to happen to this church, would we take responsibility for the answer received to a prayer like that?

My subject today is corporate prayer [church family together] and the message is entitled Praying with the Early Church. If we believe in the power of corporate prayer, why don’t we practice it more? Most churches do well to engage in 5-10 minutes of corporate prayer per week.

That is why R A. Torrey said, “we are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results.”

When the early church prayed together, they saw results! The lame walked, the blind saw, the dead were brought back to life, rooms were shaken, prison doors were open, chains were loosed, and boldness was given when the early church prayed! Why don’t we see similar things in our day? I agree with James when he said, “you have not because you ask not.” Oh, that we would have the same boldness and faith that the early church had!

“Heaven is full of answers for which no one ever bothered to ask.” Said Billy Graham.

[embarrassment over not happening? Afraid it will rock our faith?

We’ll be more embarrassed to arrive in heaven and find out what He WOULD have done if we’d asked!]

I. THE PRAYING PEOPLE

a. There was UNITY among their fellowship (Acts 2:44; 4:32)

b. There was UNANIMITY over their need

(12:2-3)

c. There was URGENCY in their action (v.4)

II. THE PRAYING PEOPLE’S PRAYER

a. Their prayer was EARNESTLY offered

(v.5 - Earnestly praying)[we need to get back to all-nite prayer meetings, or mid-nite]

b. Their prayer was ESPECIALLY directed

(v.5 - To God for him)

c. Their prayer was EXPECTANTLY prayed

(v.5) [they were at risk to look bad…maybe going thru motions/we HAVE to do this]

[04-04-04 thoughts…josh-pack a pew!]

III. THE POWER OF THE PRAYING PEOPLE’S PRAYER

a. The RESPONSE from heaven (v.7)

We say we believe God answers prayer, but we explain away a lack of blessings sometimes by saying, God answered no!

God dispatched an angel [rapture!]

b. The REWARD of their faith (v.11)

This is not a vision, it’s real!

c. The REACTION of the believers (v.15)

[don’t be surprised when answer comes!]

God works in spite of us sometimes/not about us/organization/about faith, prayer!]


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