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: firstname.lastname@example.org
• 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!'
NOW WE PICK UP THE STORY IN VERSE 24:
• 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!