Summary: Sermon #2 in the Power of Prayer series focuses on the Power of Prayer when we are plugged into God. The example is given of Peter being released from jail by an angel after the people prayed for him. Acts 12:1-19
The Power of Prayer:#2-POWER
CHCC: June 14, 2009
(from Discover the Power of Prayer by Max Lucado)
SKIT: TUNE UP
Ed: Today we’re talking about the power of prayer. I want to start with a song about prayer. (start strumming with noticeably out of tune strings)
Lawrence: Um … Ed … Ed (trying to get his attention)
Ed: (a little annoyed) What?
Lawrence: (begins to tell which strings are flat/sharp …)
Ed & Lawrence: (back & forth conversation until the guitar strings are all in tune)
Ed: (Explain that this was a skit to make a point)
The time to TUNE up is BEFORE you perform, not after. In the same way, we need to pray BEFORE we start the day, not after we’ve already made a mess of things. When we pray, the Holy Spirit is like Lawrence – telling you what is out of tune so you can fix what you didn’t even realize was out of tune.)
WHISPER A PRAYER
D Aaug A D D7
Whisper a prayer in the morning … Whisper a prayer at noon
G D Bm Em A7 D G D
Whisper a prayer in the evening … He’ll keep you heart in tune.
God answers prayer in the morning … God answers prayer at noon
God answers prayer in the evening … He’ll keep you heart in tune.
Jesus may come in the morning … Jesus may come at noon
Jesus may come in the evening … So keep you heart in tune.
Power of Prayer #2: POWER
Today we’re going to talk about the WHEN, WHY, and HOW of prayer.
1. When should we pray? – As a First Resort
Too many times we pray as a LAST resort! Years ago (before she knew better) my wife used to watch a soap opera called GENERAL HOSPITAL. How many of you ever saw that … now be honest. Of course, I had NO interest in it whatsoever --- I mean who cares what Luke and Laura were doing --- well, I couldn’t help but see it now and then.
Anyway, I heard a lot of what I call “soap opera prayers.” Someone would wander into the GENERAL HOSPITAL chapel and say something like this: “Uh, God, I know you haven’t heard from me for a long time. But right now I really need you. If’ you’ll just help me out this one time, I promise I won’t bother you again!”
It’s too bad when prayer is saved for a last resort --- a spare tire ---something to pull out only after you’ve worn out every other alternative. That’s not the way prayer was meant to be. It’s not the way the first Christians viewed prayer.
In Acts 12 we read about a time when the early Church faced terrible persecution. King Herod had arrested several Christians. He had John’s brother James executed. When he saw this pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter also. Herod planned to hold him until Passover ended, and then to have a public trial.
Acts 12:5 says, So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
Herod had the power to completely destroy the little fledgling church. But these Christians didn’t look to government or powerful leaders for help. They knew the truth of Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty.
We tend to think big problems can be solved through education or the economy or politics. We think all power resides in Congress or the Presidency. Meanwhile, we ignore the greatest source of power in the universe!
Imagine you went to a Gas Station and you pulled into a long line of cars just sitting there. Before long, you notice no one’s pumping gas. People are standing around looking hot and tired, complaining to each other. Some of them are washing their car windows. Others are buying candy and cokes at the counter. Then you see that when they leave, people are pushing their cars out of the station and down the road. The attendant tells you the station has plenty of gas, but no one is filling their tanks.
Would you think those people must be crazy? Would that confuse you … or frustrate you? Think how God must feel when we keep pushing our heavy burdens rather than plugging into the power supply that He has made so readily available to us through Prayer!
Which brings us to point number two in the outline:
2. How should we pray – As if everything depends on God(Because it DOES!)
The Church in Jerusalem knew they had a problem that was too big for them. Peter was trapped in prison, guarded by 16 soldiers, and held by 2 chains. He had a real problem. But the early church knew that behind every miracle is a problem.