Summary: When do we normally pray? Verses When should we pray? Examined using contemporary language, practical points of application and an easy to ’Power Point’ outline.
"The Church in Prayer" Acts 4:23-31
Pastor Bob Hunter
Intro: Describe how the Apostles got to a place of prayer. Review the story that immediately preceedes it, ( i.e. The healing of lame beggar, discuss the trouble it stirred up and the events that followed.) Describe Peter and John before the Sanhedrin (the men in the 3 piece suits). They are ordered to be silent (they scheme to disobey). The Sanhedrin releases them. They immediately go back to camp and pray. Verse 24
I. The early believers prayed.
They prayed before the spirit was given (5 days). They prayed and gave thanks after the Spirit was given. Every thing in the book of ACTS begins and ends with prayer. The phrase "they prayed" appears 48 times in the book of ACTS. The early believers recognized prayer as fundamental. Everything they did was bathed in prayer. Prayer is a response to God and what He is doing among us.
Transitional statement: Now what about us? Are we like the early believers? Are we that committed to prayer? Wow! This is pretty heavy isn’t it? What I would like us to do is review the occasions when we are most likely to pray. We’re going to do a little comparison here today. When is it that we normally pray?
II. When do we normally pray?
A. When it’s convenient.
We tend to pray when conditions are right. When we have time to pray. So long as nothing else interferes, (phone calls, visitors, work, play) We tend to pray most often when it’s convenient to do so, so long as it doesn’t interfere greatly with our personal agendas.
B. When we’re feeling guilty.
Sometimes were driven to prayer, simply because we feel guilty about not doing it. Or maybe we’ve hearing the Pastor teach on the subject and we feel unspiritual. So we force ourselves into a posture of prayer and play catch up because we’re so far behind. In other words, we try to pray real, real hard to make up for all the times that we haven’t prayed. We do this so we can walk away with a clear conscience know that we’ve paid our dues.
C. When there’s trouble.
This isn’t especially a bad thing. It’s just happens to be a reality. When there’s trouble brewing and we don’t have anywhere else to turn, we tend to get serious about prayer. I think back to post Sept. 11th and how many people were driven to their knees because of what happened. And that’s not especially a bad thing. But maybe that’s where we should have been along. Instead of praying ‘only’ when we’re trouble, maybe we need make some adjustments and pray before we get into trouble, before it’s a last resort.
Transitional statement: So these are the times in which we normally pray.(restate each). But let me ask you this, when should we be praying? What is a more normal & biblical pattern of prayer? Obviously, a more normal and predictable model of prayer is set forth in the book of Acts. We catch a glimpse of it, in Ch. 2 and again in Ch. 4.. The early believers established a solid and consistent pattern of prayer. So let’s take a look at theirs and compare it to our own., and consider the times in which we should be in prayer. So the question is when should we pray?