Summary: 1- Prayer will increase our devotion 2- Prayer will release us from our prisons 3- Prayer will open the door to doing good
INTRO. - ILL.- One lady said: My AUNT KAREN is the mother of two high-spirited young girls. When I called her one morning, our conversation was constantly interrupted by the din of kids screaming and chasing each other. "Could you hold on for a moment?" my aunt finally asked, putting down the phone. Within ten seconds all I could hear was absolute silence. Then, "Okay, I’m back." "But it’s so quiet!" I exclaimed. "You must have complete control over those two."Not really," my aunt confessed wearily, "I’m in the closet."
I think most parents with several rowdy little ones have felt like hiding in the closet at certain times.
ILL.- The Hiding Place is a 1971 book on the life of Corrie ten Boom. The title refers to both the physical hiding place where the ten Boom family secretly hid Jews from the Nazis, and it also refers to God, as in Psalm 32:7: "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."
God is our hiding place from the crud or junk of this world. And since Jesus lived in the flesh, He also needed and had a hiding place.
Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."
Jesus’ special hiding place was just to get away from people and often, early in the morning was His best time before all the crushing activities of the day jumped on Him. And sometimes, it was at night!
Luke 6:12 “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Have you ever spent the whole night in prayer?
DO YOU HAVE A HIDING PLACE FOR PRAYER?
ILL.- My hiding place has been my office but it’s also been my car. I never drive without praying at the same time, even if people are with me in the car. They may not know it, but there are times when I am silently praying while driving.
My hiding place has also been while walking. I have recently developed a good walking program but I don’t JUST walk! I pray while I walk and I have found it very helpful and satisfying!
Do you have a place of prayer? If not, you desperately need one. We all need God’s protection from the evils of this world. We need His attention, His listening ear, His loving heart, His blessing, and direction in our lives. WE NEED GOD!
Our text reads: 16Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.
While going to pray we may meet with opposition. In the case of Paul and Silas this slave girl was possessed, if nothing else, with an aggravating, demon spirit.
Have you ever come across such? I’ve seen a few people in my time who were very aggravating to me. I’m not sure, however, if they were demon possessed. They were possessed, but perhaps not demon possessed! Just a source of irritation and aggravation.
ILL.- Let me share something that happened to Brother Ron Hoyer recently on his trip to India to preach Christ. He said, "I saw things that I’ve only read about in the Bible." What things? Like demon possession. He said that after several women had been baptized, they fell to the ground and started to yell or shake violently. And one particular women starting yelling the name of a demon who possessed her. What name? "Papa cockadoo." She ran out in the water, fell down in the water, kicking and screaming (the water was only about 12 inches).
She was also screaming, "Jesus can’t change me," which we assume the demon was speaking through her, saying these words in order to scare the people.
Ron, the translator, and the local preacher waded out into the water and tried to calm her down and pray for her. She did calm down, her face changed and she began to speak normally. JESUS DID CHANGE HER!
No matter what or how, the devil would love to keep you from praying! It may not be a demon possessed person who wants to keep you from praying but it may be seemingly innocent people who don’t realize what they’re doing. But the devil will do anything to stop you from going to the place of prayer and from praying! If nothing else, he’ll make sure that you are too busy to pray. Are you too busy to pray? If so, break that pattern! For your soul’s sake, break that pattern!