Summary: The Church In Prayer. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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!
• 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.
• 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,