Summary: Acts Series: 20th Sermon--4 things that can revolutionize our prayer lives: Prayers that are United, God-Centered, Scriptural, and Unselfish!

The Power of a Prayer Meeting

Acts 4:23-31

Peter and John have been arrested/threatened not to preach Christ...but the Lord has told them TO! [torn between God and man.]

When released, where did they go? Tavern? Belly up to bar? No...they had a prayer and praise meeting!

Psalm 145:1-21

I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. [2] Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. [3] Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

Here’s the secret: “oh, what peace we often forfeit...”

They headed for their own people [law of affinity: we’re attracted by those like us...birds of a feather flock together!]

You can tell a lot about those a person runs w/...or runs to.

joke--drunk picked up by preacher on road, taken home, "please meet my wife"/no!/please.../why?/I want her to see what kind of company I’m keepin’!

Well, Peter and John ran to their own company.

It’s a shame when people get into trouble and don’t run to the church...may we make our church one they can run to!

Away w/ selfish Christianity that 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?

Just like last week, that’s the the prayer.

Here’s 4 things that can revolutionize our prayer lives:

Once again, this was a

1. United Prayer--they dropped to their knees and joined hands and prayed TOGETHER. [tho’ we all should have private prayer lives, we should pray as a, etc.] We’ll be united or we’ll be untied!

As a church the same is true!

2. God-Centered Prayer--did not focus on their prob’s, but on God’s power!

v. 24 recognized God as Creator

When we do this, it puts our prob’s in perspective...reminds us that He can handle our prob’s.

Read the most powerful prayers in scripture, you’ll see they’re not problem-centered, but God centered!

Nehemiah 9--He was in serious trouble, but spent minutes praising things about Who God IS, before making his request!

Isaiah 42:10--he talks about God’s power/guidance/control/faithfulness prior to his requests.

David--Psalm 145:1-3

I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. [2] Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. [3] Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

Revolutionize your prayer life...take out some moans and add some amen’s...delete the hows? and replace w/ hallelujahs! Shove gratitude up front in the groan’s seat!

ill.--John Wesley riding horse thru countryside, overcome by thieves who took every cent he had on him. That nite he prayed [recorded prayers in a journal].

"Dear God, thank you for 3 things: tho’ they took my money, they didn’t take my life...tho’ they took ALL my money, it wasn’t much...most of all, thank you that it was I who was robbed, and not I who did the robbing!"

What a God-Centered prayer!

3. This was also a scriptural prayer

Based on scripture

Quote the Bible when you pray [hide it in your heart, recall it]

v. 25-26 This is Psalm 2--a prophecy made hundreds of years before Christ of how the kings of the earth would conspire against Him...but in the middle of it all, God would be in control [laughing].

Then they pray the interpretation:

v. 27 they all gang up as predicted...

v. 28 and they were your puppets, Lord!

v. 29-30 they apply it to their situation now. Lord, you were in control when the rulers crucified Jesus, and you’re in control of ours.

They pray Scripture/claiming scripture/praying based on the can we, and so we ought to!

ill.--needed money for taxes, prayed acc’d to story of Peter [go fishin’] Mt. 17

How should we pray tonite? Biblically! Souls: Lord, you’re not willing for them to perish!/Lord, you added unto the church daily.../you’re the great physician who touched blind eyes.../bro’t prodigal home, do it for our son!

united, God-centered, scriptural...

4. This was a totally unselfish prayer

v. 29 amazing! they didn’t pray for deliverance/for God to crush their heads!/call fire down on council/for protection, but that they would be able to still do what they are supposed to despite it all!

We don’t pray like that...we pray for God to get us out of situations, not deeper!

We say, oh God, kill ’em! Smite w/ hemorrhoids like asteroids/may the fleas of 1k camels...

Philip Brooks: don’t pray for an easy life, pray for God to make you stronger! Don’t pray for tasks equal to your power, but for power equal to your tasks!

ill.--6 year old boy got a sweet tooth/slipped finger into the barrel, then into his mouth/owner scolded him: ’unsanitary’/kid was embarrassed, left/few days later his tongue guided him there again/did same again…was caught again/this time man took him by arm and escorted him out firmly…spanked him/you’d think he’d learn his lesson, but 10 days later he did it again, but before he could get it to his mouth, owner caught him red handed/he picked him up, turned him upside-down and, yes, dipped him in head first/last thing you could hear as he was lowered was a prayer, “Lord, give me a tongue equal to this opportunity!”

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