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Summary: In the early church, their first response was to go to God in prayer. Is it also ours?

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The Power of Prayer

Acts 12:1-19

Introduction

Set up church expanding – miracles and healings continuing ...

It is important that we understand the importance of praying then and now

The church would have never survived had others not been praying

-- I think we can say if people weren’t praying TCAPL would have closed

-- This truth leads us to where we are today in studying the Book of Acts

- Read Acts 12:1-19

Point 1 – There is Unity and Urgency (1-4)

The church understood the threat of the day – not just spiritual but physical

-- Fear, rebellion, death

-- This understanding leads them to act and to seek God completely

From Acts 2:44 we know there was unity among the church members

-- More than like-minded persons; they had the same vision and purpose

-- The church was centered round the Gospel; not their own ideas

APP: This is where we must stand firmly today

The early church knew about persecution; they had seen death all around them

The church also understood the URGENCY they faced ahead of them

Herod is on a rampage to stop the Gospel – in total revenge mode

-- Jesus had risen and ascended; Herod was proven wrong – his rep is at stake

1. James has been put to death;

2. Peter has been arrested;

3. Logically, they knew Peter was next to die

This kind of challenge presents unique opportunities for a church struggling

-- The same kind of challenges face you and I today … in everything

-- We face challenges of loyalty in family, friends, work, and the church

-- The first action we take says a lot about what we gain strength from

So here is Peter – not flogged this time but locked up and uncertain of his fate

-- My question to you is: What would you do if you were Peter / Disciples?

TRANS: In the early church, their first response was to go to God in prayer

Point 2 – Prayer is Powerful (5)

To be certain, we could camp on verse 5 all day, all month, and all year …

-- This verse holds some major truths for us to accept and apply in faith

The NIV says “earnestly”; KJV says “without ceasing”

The Greek word here is “ektonos” means “fervent”

Fervent is an adverb defined as “having passionate intensity” for something

-- 1 Pet 1:22 uses this word also (Peter extoling the Believers):

-- “… see that ye love one another with a pure heart, fervently …”

-- CHAL: It is a BURNING love that has no antidote or ability to put it out

First the church was earnestly praying

-- This is not a 5 second “Lord, bless all those over there …” prayer

-- This is a prayer of faithfulness; a prayer of boldness and specificity

Second the church was specifically praying

-- Praying for Peter to be released and to be unharmed

-- Praying for restoration and protection and the return of their brother

Third the church was expectantly praying

-- Praying knowing that God was listening and would answer them

-- THIS IS CRITICAL!! Do we prayer expecting God to answer?

This is a boldness that we need to experience and take part in today

IMP: Prayer has never been, and never will be, “OUR THING”

Prayer is established by God so that He can communicate with us

-- We are fortunate (grateful …) that we can get to talk to a Holy God

-- However, prayer exists for us to listen more than it does for us to talk

Basic outline of how to pray (different sermon but good to know here …)

A – Adoration

C – Confession

T – Thanksgiving

S – Supplication

We see how the church earnestly (deliberately) came to God in prayer

- TRANS: It’s important to know, God answers prayer on His time

Point 3 – God’s Response (7-15)

V7 shows us that God sends an angel to wake Peter up and lead him out

-- Can you imagine for a moment the reaction of Peter woken from slumber?

-- It had to be jarring to say the least … and a little weird as well

Note v8 –when God answers, He is specific in His direction if we listen

-- Put on a coat, grab your shoes, follow me … nothing left to chance

-- APP: In the same manner today: God answers and directs – vague is not Him

Now … we are about to see the most PITIFUL response from church people

Re-read v12-15

What did the Believers, who were praying for God to answer them, say?

“You’re out of your mind …” WOW, let’s stop and chat here for a moment

-- Where is there faith? Where is there determination? Where is the belief?

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