Summary: This Sermon is about the MADNESS of PRAYER that leads to MIRACLES!
Scripture: Acts 12:1 – 19 (cf. verses 6 – 16)
Title: The Madness of Prayer
This Sermon is about the madness of prayer that leads to miracles.
Grace and peace this morning from God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit!
I want to talk to you today about prayer – praying – intercessory prayer – praying for yourself, your family and for others. I want to talk to you today about what I want to call the Madness of Prayer.
In our story this morning that is the title that a group of Christ followers that were meeting at the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark gave to the young slave girl Rhoda. Her name meant Rose – a name that any young girl would be proud to have. But that night those who met in prayer said that she was not Rhoda – not Rose but Mad – they said that she was insane – that she had lost her mind.
Overall it is a rather funny story. In the midst of sharing all the hardships that the Early Church was suffering; Dr. Luke takes the time to share with us a funny story about faith and prayer. The Early Church is praying for the release of the Apostle Peter and in the midst of their praying he is released and shows up on their front door.
However, at first no one will let the Apostle Peter inside the door. No one believes that he is really there. They believe that young Rhoda has lost her mind because she believes that she has seen him and talked to him. They are convinced that it must be Simon Peter’s ghost – his spirit that is hovering between earth and Paradise.
Now, had she let him in the Apostle Peter could have simply just walked in the room and said hello and everyone would have seen him and realized that he was in fact standing right there in front of them. They would have realized that what they had been praying for had happened. That the Apostle Peter had somehow been released from prison and was now safe and sound.
No one should ever accuse the Bible of not being able to tell a funny story. The Bible is full of all kinds of humor and funny stories. That should not surprise us. Our Creator God – the Great I Am, the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, our Savior and LORD loves to laugh, loves to have a great time and loves to share a great story or two. At least that is what we find when we read the stories of Jesus in the Gospels and the stories we find in the Old Testament.
I mean after all who makes a donkey talk to a misguided prophet.
Who swallows up another misguided prophet with a great fish?
Who tells a 90-year-old man whose wife is well beyond childbearing that they are going to have more children than there are stars in the night sky?
Who has a bunch of people walking around a city’s wall for six days and then has them shout down the walls on the 7th day after they walked around it another seven times?
Who has King Solomon write all the stuff that he writes in the book of Proverbs?
-Proverbs 11:22 says, "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion."
-Proverbs 21:9 – “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” (I wonder which of his 300 wives this was written about)
-Proverbs 22:13 – “The sluggard says, there is a lion outside!” (apparently someone didn’t want to go to work)
If we allow ourselves to relax, invite the Holy Spirit to read with us there is a great deal in the Bible that will make us laugh. After all, laughter is good for the soul. Laughter helps us ward off sickness and depression. Joy and laughter are a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. So, it should not surprise us that the LORD has placed some humor in His Word.
We should read this story and have a laugh. It doesn’t make much sense of Rhoda to not open the door. It doesn’t make much sense for a bunch of people to be praying earnestly about something and then when it happens do their best to say nothing has happened. And on top of that to tell the person who has good news to share that they are crazy.
But the story is more than just good humor. It also shares with us what I what to call the “Madness of Prayer”
– for there is a certain madness that it takes to do the type of praying that we see here – there is a certain madness to the type of prayer that moves mountains, that moves the heart of God and that makes a difference in our world. It is that madness that I would like to share with you this morning.