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Summary: The Church In Prayer. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Following Jesus requires action! We see that action in two ways:

• The context is evangelism (sharing our faith with others);

• Last week you probably noted that

• Peter and John stood before the Sanhedrin (Jewish court);

• Their crime verse 2 tells us was: “Teaching and preaching about the risen Christ”.

• And they are ordered to be silent.

• Their crime was telling other people about Jesus!

• And in verse 31 at the end of today’s passage, we read:

• “Filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the word of God boldly!

Note:

• Worth noting that throughout the book of Acts when anyone was filled with the Spirit;

• It lead to them evangelising (telling others about Jesus)

• Ill: Have you ever had a picnic or B-B-Q and watched;

• A black ant crawl up a table leg until it reached some spilled sugar.

• It seemed to eat, then crawled back down the table leg.

• Soon the two black ants crawled up the table leg to the sugar.

• They ate and left. Soon a steady steam of black ants;

• Moved up and down the table leg to enjoy the sugar.

• Point being that they must have some system by which they communicate,

• 'I have found something good and I want to share it!'

NOW WE PICK UP THE STORY IN VERSE 24:

• Then Sanhedrin decides to releases them.

• And they immediately go back to the other Christians and start to pray.

Ill:

• In one region of Africa,

• The first converts to Christianity were very diligent about praying.

• In fact, the believers each had their own special place;

• Outside the village where they went to pray in solitude.

• The villagers reached these “prayer rooms”

• By using their own private footpaths through the brush.

• When grass began to grow over one of these trails,

• It was evident that the person to whom it belonged was not praying very much.

• Because these new Christians were concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare,

• A unique custom sprang up.

• When ever anyone noticed an overgrown “Prayer path,”

• He or she would go to the person and lovingly warn, “Friend, there’s grass on your path!”

Question: Do you find it easy to pray?

Answer: If the answer is no, then you are in good company!

• The wartime theologian and writer Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for example,

• Once admitted that his prayer experience was; “Something to be ashamed of”.

• The Great reformer, Martin Luther, anguished in prayer,

• Saving three of the best hours of the day to pray; yet he seldom seemed satisfied.

Go down through the list of Christian greats, we find one after another working hard at prayer,

• But frequently you will find they were dissatisfied,

• Some of them even woefully unhappy about their prayer life.

• E. M. Bounds, Alexander Maclaren, Samuel Rutherford, Hudson Taylor,

• John Henry Jowett, G. Campbell Morgan, Joseph Parker, Charles Haddon Spurgeon,

• F. B. Meyer, A. W. Tozer, H. A. Ironside, Billy Graham,

• Great men, strong Christian examples,

• Magnificent role models,

• Yet you can hardly find one of that number who was satisfied with his prayer life.

• Oh, they laboured in prayer, they believed in prayer, they taught and preached prayer;

• But they were all strugglers, who had to work hard at it!

• So if you struggle when it comes to prayer;

• Then you are in good company!

We have recorded in these verses some insights to help us pray better:

(1). They Prayed primarily (verse 23)

Notice: What it says in verse 23: "On their release."

• Peter & John were so thankful for being delivered from the Sanhedrin.

• That they immediately went back and reported what had happened to the others.

• And after they had told them what had happened,

• An impromptu prayer meeting was held to give praise and thanks to God.

ill:

The early Christians prayed.

• Almost every thing in the book of Acts begins and ends with prayer.

• In fact 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.

Ill:

• Surprised to see an empty seat at yesterdays Cup Final;

• A diehard fan remarked about it to a woman sitting nearby.

• The woman then explained; “It was my husband’s, but he died.”

• “I’m very sorry,” said the man.

• “Yet I’m really surprised that another relative, or friend,

• Didn’t jump at the chance to take the seat reserved for him.”

• “Beats me too,” she said.

• “But they all insisted on going to the funeral.”

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