Summary: The Church in Prayer - Acts chapter 4 verses 23-31 - sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


• They Prayed initially (vs 23)

• They Prayed collectively (vs 24)

• They prayed confidently (vs 24&28)

• They prayed biblically (vs 25-26)

• They prayed expectantly (vs 30-31)



• A man went to the doctors complaining about his loud snoring;

• The doctor asked him; “Does it keep your wife awake at night?”

• He replied, “My wife! Why it keeps the whole congregation awake!”

• TRANSITION: No preacher wants to send his congregation to sleep;

• If we are honest we all want to make an impact!


• A young preacher said to an older preacher;

• “Sometimes when I preached there was a great outpouring of blessing,

• But at other times, there seemed to be an out-and-out famine”.

• The older college said to him;

• "Have you ever tried to breathe out three times while only breathing in once?"

• The young guy replied; "No."

• "Then try it." Said the older college.

• So the younger man duly obliged, and he found it was impossible.

• So the younger man said to the older college; "It can’t be done,"

• The older college just nodded and smiled and said; “There’s your answer."

• TRANSITION: If we want to be effective in our preaching & evangelism;

• We must make sure we are taking in as well as giving out!

• And that is one of the key lessons from this passage in Acts chapter 4.


• 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 by the authorities to be silent, to shut up!

• 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!

• Once again their priority was telling other people about Jesus!


• Mercedes Benz was the company who first produced a car body design;

• That was able to absorb the force of a collision on impact.

• One Mercedes Benz TV commercial shows their car;

• Colliding with a cement wall during a safety test.

• Since then of course many other car companies have followed its design.

• Someone then asks the company spokesman,

• "Why they do not enforce their patent on the Mercedes Benz energy-absorbing car body?"

• He reply was very insightful, he said:

• "Because some things in life are too important not to share."

• TRANSITION: That is what these very first Christian believe;

• That the gospel is too important not too share!'


• Then Sanhedrin (religious Jewish council) decides to releases them.

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


• My favourite prayer comes from the man who once spoke these words:

• “Dear God, So far today I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped,

• I haven’t lost my temper, I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent.

• I’m very thankful for that.

• But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed,

• And from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot of help. Amen”

Question: Do you find it easy to pray?


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

• Just check out the greats of Church history,

• They all struggled when it came to prayer.

• i.e. The wartime theologian and writer Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for example,

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

• i.e. The Great reformer, Martin Luther, anguished in prayer,

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

• Read their writings and you soon discover;

• They struggled, they were dissatisfied,

• Even woefully unhappy about their prayer life.

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

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

• i.e. 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!

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Randy Hamel

commented on Feb 1, 2017

Thanks for sharing this. An awesome message and so helpful to me today

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