Summary: The Christians Praying & Sharing Together. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Christians Praying:
notice who is praying (vs 23-24)
notice when it was prayed (vs 23&29)
notice who they prayed to (vs 24-28)
notice what was asked (vs 29-30)
notice what happened next (vs 31)
The Christians Sharing:
notice there was unity (vs 32)
there was sharing (vs 32&36)
Praying & Sharing
Reading: Acts chapter 4 verses 23-37
• An elderly Christian lady attended a Christian conference gathering;
• Similar to Keswick/Spring Harvest etc.
• For her it was really the first time she had mixed with Christians from other denominations,
• This really blessed her and opened her eyes to the richness of Christian traditions
• She especially liked it when the preacher suggested;
• Instead of using the normal greetings,
• Why not use one popularised by the early Church.
• He pointed out that the first Christians were so eagerly awaiting the return of Christ;
• That they used the word ‘maranatha’;
• An Aramaic word meaning ‘the Lord is coming’.
• The elderly lady took this on board;
• And the next day went around greeting everyone they met with the words;
• “Marijuana, brother, marijuana”.
• The first Christians not only used greetings that set them apart from their contemporaries;
• They also lived and practiced a lifestyle that marked them out as different.
• Notice as we look at the passage that it naturally divides into two sections:
• Verses 23-31: Praying.
• Verses 32-37: Sharing.
(A). The Christians pray (vs 23-31).
• As you read through the book of Acts you soon discover;
• That the early Church was a praying Church!
• In fact in the book of Acts prayer is mentioned 30 times;
• The early Church was serious about praying together!
• And in this first section (vs 23-31) I want you to notice five things regarding prayer:
(1). Who Is Praying (vs 23-24a):
“On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God”
On their release from prison Peter & John meet up with the rest of the Church:
• The writer does not say that they went to "the other apostles."
• He says they went to "their friends," literally: "their own."
• The point I want to make is this – praying is for ordinary Christians!
• Years ago I was the guest speaker on an Oak Hall holiday.
• Oak Hall is a Christian company that run holidays all over the world.
• On one of the trips we took a coach with 74 people to Spain;
• And on numerous occasions on the outward journey I was asked to pray
• i.e. for a safe journey.
• i.e. Grace before a meal.
• I am not sure if one of the people was serious or just being humorous;
• But one of the holiday makers asked me if I was a ‘professional prayer’.
• I guess it seemed to them I was the only one of the team who ever publicly prayed!
• The writer says they went to "their friends," literally: "their own."
• The point being prayer is an activity that is do-able by every Christian.
• i.e. in the lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament;
• Have you noticed there is no gift of prayer?
• All Christians – whether you have been saved 5mins or 55 years;
• Have the ability to talk to God in prayer.
• So when the opportunity comes along to pray – seize it!
• And if there is no opportunity – create it!
• Because many of us struggle to pray as we should;
• Remember that you do not need to struggle on your own.
• Find a prayer partner (or two and make a prayer triplet).
• Because the Bible calls us to join together to encourage and support each other.
• Many people have found that having a prayer partner or being part of a prayer triplet;
• Is a helpful and enjoyable way of enriching their prayer life,
• Question: Is there someone here you can pray with as a prayer partner;
• Question: Is there a couple of people you could form a prayer triplet with?
(2). When It Was Prayed (vs 23&29):
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them
29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”