Summary: To challenge every church member to understand the importance of prayer of the church.
THE CHURCH IN PRAYER!
Ac 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. (KJV)
INTRODUCTION: I am going to guess, and I believe that I will be quite accurate in my judgment, that the greatest reason for church failure in reaching people with the gospel is the failure to pray for the Lord to grant us the ability, the burden, and the power to reach souls for Christ.
This event was during the Passover season. We see here that God does not always keep His people from suffering. James, the brother of John, had been killed by Herod. James was one of the inner circle, one of the three that we see together so much during the days of Christ on the earth. So, we see that God is not always going to keep Christians from suffering. 2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (KJV) Now is the age for crosses, not for crowns.
Also, we see that God’s servants cannot be put to death until it is God’s will for it to be done. No man of God, in the will of God, can die until God wants him to die.
Herod supposed that these two, Peter and James, were pillars on which the church rested; and that, if these were removed, the building must necessarily come down. He didn’t understand nor know the power of a local N.T. Church. Mt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (KJV) Nor will the sword of Herod prevail against it.
I have talked with a few pastors who have told me that first thing their church does in attempting to reach souls is to pray that God will grant them success. We probably haven’t prayed like we should for this part of the ministry here at BHBC. That is what I want to talk to you about today.
We have an example in this text of the Local N.T. Church in Jerusalem in prayer during a time of crisis in their church. And we can see also in this text that their prayer was miraculously answered. Anytime a church is not experiencing souls being saved on a regular basis should be considered a crisis time.
I believe we can learn from this great example how we should pray here as a church.
I. THE PLACE OF PRAYER Vs. 12.
Ac 12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. (KJV)
Mark’s mother’s house. Peter knew where to find the church. The people are the church, not a building. At that particular day the church assembled in Mary’s home, the mother of John Mark. During those days the churches didn’t have a building they met in. They went from house to house daily. Ac 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
Even though it was not a building with a steeple and stained glass windows it was the meeting place of the church on that particular day.
Remember when we met for nine weeks in S/W Baptist on Sunday Afternoon and Thursday PM, right after the tornado? The marquee said that it was Southwest Baptist, but when we were there it was BHBC. Why? Because that was where the members of BHBC assembled. If we were to erect a tent in the Wal-mart parking lot and assemble that would the BHBC.
They prayed where they were assembled.