Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
The Power of a Prayer Meeting Acts 4:23-31
Peter and John have been arrested, threatened and forbidden to preach Christ.
However, there’s just one little itsy bitsy problem. You see, the Lord has told them to do just that! Jesus told the church to preach the gospel to EVERY creature!
So now Peter and John are torn between obedience to God and satisfying man. Or are they?
Let me show you something. I want you to see where they went, as soon as they were released, according to the recorded Word of God.
Read verses 21-23:
Notice that they did not go to the local bar to drown their sorrows BUT they DID find the church family and had a praise and prayer meeting!
You need to read all of Psalm 145, when you get a moment, but listen to just the first three verses.
[Psalm 145:1-3 NIV] “1 …I will exalt you, (raise You up or lift You up) my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”
David says NO ONE can measure… no one can comprehend the greatness of God!
Here’s the secret to David’s successful worship: You should be familiar with these words “oh, what peace we often forfeit (lose, give up)... oh what needless pain we bear” why? “ALL because we do not carry…” What? “EVERYTHING to God in PRAYER.”
The moment Peter and John are released, they headed straight for their own people.
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. I will never condone palm reading or fortune telling but I often tell young men and women that I can predict their future. You might be wondering how I can do this. It’s simple, actually; “If you show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”
Well, Peter and John ran to their own company.
It’s a real shame that when people get into trouble, they are afraid to run to the church. Why is that!? Share some possible reasons…
Please, let’s make Elim Bible church a place where hurting people can run TO and not FROM!
Another problem is selfish Christianity. Selfish Christianity comes to church only for what I can get...did it ever occur to you that there are some who need what you can give?
I want to show you 4 things that can revolutionize your prayer life and mine:
We will see great things happen through:
1. United Prayer
When Peter and John told the church what had had happened the people didn’t grab a bunch of signs and begin to march, in protest around the Temple. They didn’t have a cussing and spitting session nor did they sit around in self-pity, crying “Woe is me” they dropped to their knees, joined hands and prayed TOGETHER.
Each of us should have our own private prayer lives. We should pray as a family... before meals... at bedtime... during family devotions... when we face some crisis... in the hospital, etc. But we need to come together as a body and lift up the needs of other believers. We need more time, on our knees before God, as a group!
There is an old cliché that talks about a family that plays together stays together.
Someone changed that old cliché to say, “The church that prays together stays together.” But I want you to know that a church that prays together turns the world upside down, in the Name and a power of Jesus.
This life changing event will happen as soon as our prayer become…
2. God-Centered Prayer—
Peter and John did not focus on their personal problems, but on God’s power!
Look at verse 24. They recognized God as Creator.
When we do this, it puts our problems in perspective and reminds us that He can handle every problem we will ever face.
If you will read the most powerful prayers in scripture, you’ll see they’re not problem-centered, but God centered!
Nehemiah, in chapter 9 was in serious trouble, but he spent several minutes just praising and remembering Who God IS, before making his request!
Isaiah in 42:10--he talks about God’s power, God’s guidance, God’s control and faithfulness, before he got to his personal requests.
David centered his prayer on God before making any request in, [Psalm 145:1-3 NIV] “1 …I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”
Why don’t you revolutionize your prayer life by replacing a few moans with a few more AMENS’! Stop asking how and start shouting hallelujah!