Summary: The power of earnest prayer is amazing. We should not be surprised when God moves.
The Power of Earnest Prayer
Acts 12-13 offers interesting glimpses of two congregations at prayer. The Jerusalem church is described in Acts 12 and the Antioch church in Acts 13. These chapters show the relationship between prayer and come crucial concerns in the life of a church.
Herod’s persecution brought James’ death and Peter’s arrest. While Peter was in jail, “the church was earnestly praying.” At Mary’s house “many were gathered together praying”. Peter was delivered and arrived at the house, where he was greeted by an amazed congregation. Why should they be amazed after “earnestly praying” for this very event? Was their faith lacking? Where they surprised God did it without their physical help or personal intervention to the authorities? Earnest prayer has amazing results! Lets wait on the Lord and see in our church the amazing power of earnest prayer.
READ Acts 12:5
I. Pray earnestly for God to bless the church’s outreach
a. The close of this chapter gives the long-tern results of prayer: “The word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24)
i. This is an excellent description of church growth.
ii. The prayer meeting at Mary’s house showed the Jerusalem church a useful lesson.
1. God uses a people prepared by prayer.
b. The marvelous movements of people toward God have all been launched with God’s people in fervent prayer.
i. The miracle of Christian multiplication in Korea is the result of prayer.
ii. Many trace the growth in recent years to a prayer commitment made by four missionaries of different denominations.
iii. Hundreds of Korean Christians even today gather at early hours of the morning.
iv. Prayer and church growth travel together.
II. Pray earnestly for the Lord to bless his laborers
The Antioch church became the center of Christian outreach; the church is an inspiring example of prayer for the laborers in the field.
a. Prayer is involved in sending out
i. The church worshiped, prayed, and fasted, and then the missionary workers were chosen and set apart. (Acts 13:2)
ii. Jesus instructed us to pray for laborers (Matt. 9:37-38); the needs of the world are great, and the laborers are few.
b. Prayer is involved in the success of the laborers
i. Paul spoke for every believer when he said, “Pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word” (Col. 4:3)
ii. Our prayers affect the success of the warriors on the front lines
c. Prayer is involved in the safety of the Lord’s laborers
i. Paul requested prayer “that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not all have faith.
ii. But the Lord is faithful
III. Pray earnestly for the Lord’s power over the enemy.
a. The laborers left Antioch and soon encountered a personal servant of the devil (Acts 13:6-12)
i. Paul confronted him and had victory in dealing with him.
ii. Our battle is against the “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”
iii. The armor of the Lord to fight these spiritual forces is to be used with prayer.
1. Pray on your spiritual armor daily
b. Jesus promised power against the enemy. Christ’s death and resurrection have rendered the devil powerless.
i. Every Christian participates in that victory.
ii. We claim the power of that victory as we “pray at all times in the Spirit”
A church is commissioned by God to reach the world. People near and far are the responsibility of our church. Satan will do all he can to frustrate our mission, but earnest prayer will allow God to move in power. The church will grow; workers will go and serve successfully. The forces of evil will be confronted and conquered. Such is the power of earnest p