6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Second in a series looking to inject our prayer lives with Biblical truths that can empower our prayer life. This message looks at the power of praying together, in community.

There was once a pastor who had a little five-year-old daughter, and the little girl noticed that every time her dad stood behind the pulpit, and was getting ready to preach he would bow his head for moment before he began to preach. The little girl noticed that he did this every time.

So one day after the service the little girl when to her dad and asked him, “Why do you bow your head right before you preach your sermon?”

“Well Honey” the preacher answered, “I am asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.”

The little girl looked up at her father and asked, “Then how come He doesn’t do it?”

I think all of us are like that little girl. We spend a lot more time asking God why He doesn’t answer our prayers, then asking ourselves what we might do to more greatly utilize this spiritual weapon we have available to us in prayer. So we are taking a 40 day look at living a life of prevailing prayer, and examining some Biblical keys to injecting our prayer walk with great, supernatural, Holy Spirit backed power.

In his book “Connecting with God,” Herb Miller tells the story of a nightclub opening on Main Street in a small town. Upon hearing the news, the only church in that town organized an all-night prayer meeting. The members asked God to burn down the club. Within a few minutes, lightning struck the club, and it burned to the ground. The club owner sued the church, which denied responsibility for the destruction of the club.

After hearing both sides, the judge said, “It seems that wherever the guilt may lie, the nightclub owner believes in prayer, while the church doesn’t.”

Prayer is a very powerful thing. . .but do we believe it is? Last week, we began with poor George sitting at a bar, at the end of his rope, and just desperate enough to turn to prayer as a last resort. What happened to poor George’s desperate prayer? Let’s find out. . .

(Movie Clip – It’s a Wonderful Life, prayers being offered up for George.)

George’s prayer from that small town bar actually had two powers behind it, and Clarence wasn’t one of them. Not only did it have the power of desperation which we explored last week, but the prayer also had the power of community. Countless other people, completely unbeknownst to him, were simultaneously lifting prayers on his behalf. And a key to experiencing prevailing prayer is to unlock the power of community.

The Associated Press carried an interesting story about a group of post office customers who succeeded in speeding up some slow-moving service. One man described it by saying, “It was like watching grass grow.”

There were 26 patrons jammed into two lines. They realized they weren’t getting enough attention, so a 73-year-old man organized the group. In an uncommon show of unity, the 26 shouted together, “We want service!” Two minutes later, another clerk ambled out and without cracking a smile said, “Next?”

Well, the 26 knew they were on to something, so they tried it again. You guessed it, one more clerk appeared. An amused customer summed up the situation like this: “I got through that line in 4 minutes. I’ve never seen anything like it!”

There is great power in community. Power that can do a lot more than simply motivate some postal workers, cheer on a football team, or even fight crime in a neighborhood. It is a power that can result in mighty, prevailing prayers.

Turn in your Bibles to the book of Acts. Acts 12. We’ll begin right in verse 1(read through verse 4).

Just to be sure we know who we are dealing with here, Herod the king is Herod Agrippa I, the nephew of Herod Antipas who murdered John the Baptist, and the grandson of Herod the Great who had the children of Bethlehem put to death in his search for Jesus. Can you imagine the discussion around the table at their family reunions?

He reigned in the year 37 through A.D. 44, and was known for being rather incompetent and inept, especially in handling finances. But he happened to be in the right place at the right time. He had managed to flatter the eventual emperor, and thus won his favor and the opportunity to reign over a territory. That emperor was murdered in A.D. 41, and Agrippa helped Claudius ascend the throne.

So, of course, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, and Claudius not only confirmed him in his rule but added Judea and Samaria to his domain, thus granting him control of the same land which his grandfather Herod the Great had ruled.

Now Herod was not a Jew but an Edomite, and the Jews resented this fact, and Herod knew it. So to gain favor with the Jews, Agrippa began persecuting the early Christians, and had James, the son of Zebedee killed.

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