Summary: Acts Series: 6th Sermon--PAYING THE PRICE OF PRAYER
The Price of Pentecost, pt. 3
v. 12 1st price—obedience
v. 14 2nd price—unity
v. 14 3rd price-“prayer and supplication” (& fasting)
It takes a lot of prayer to have a powerful church! People willing to pay the price of intensive, genuine, heart-agonizing prayer. Nothing of eternal importance is accomplished apart from prayer!
This early church is our example:
Ch. 1—prayed for guidance
3—went to the temple at the hour of prayer
4—prayed for courage
7—Stephen prayed as he was being stoned!
8—Peter and John prayed for the Samaritans
9—Saul of Tarsus prayed for 3 straight days after being saved
…and Peter prayed before raising a woman from the dead
10—Peter prayed on the housetop, and God told him of Cornelius, opening the door to the Gentiles!
12—believers prayed for Peter in prison and he was miraculously rescued!
13—church of Antioch fasted and prayed prior to sending out Paul and Barnabas
16—at a prayer mtg. God opened Lydia’s heart to the gospel
…also in 16, prison doors were opened…Paul and Silas this time!
20—Paul prayed for his friends before leaving them
27—he prayed for God’s blessings in the midst of a storm
28—he prayed for God to heal a sick man…
…and these are just the recorded instances of prayer in the early church [the world couldn’t contain the books!]
Clearly, from ch. 1 thru 28, it’s obvious that things happen when God’s people pray!
2 areas where prayer is needed:
1. Your ministers
Whole other message on that, on the need to pray for us:
Holding up our arms like Aaron and Hur did for Moses…as long as you are behind your leader, lifting him up, the battle will be won!
2. This ministry
You can tell, I’m all for modern methods of reaching people, and as money allows there’s many proven ways we can try to go forward….and yet, nothing, no programs, no advertisement, no music, no gimmicks, no organization, no location, no alliterated outline will substitute for the Pentecostal power that falls from above—only thru prayer!
There is a difference between man-made excitement and Holy Ghost enduement!
I love to read after the old-fashioned revivalists, because they were there, they saw it happen w/ their own eyes…and they all can impart great truths we can gain from. How to have a church on fire! I’ve had a taste of that, I’ve been in a place that had it in some degree, but perhaps not the full-meal deal…some of you have been there before, you remember what it’s like…I was part of a great service in Pensacola, FL w/ an invitation that lasted 45 minutes (explain)…
I look thru my library and think of some great men of yesteryear and their writings about how it happened:
John R. Rice, Hyman Appleman, R.A. Torrey, J. Wilbur Chapman, Billy Sunday, Oliver B. Greene, D.L. Moody, W.A. Criswell, G.W. Truett and others…they all bring different angles to the table…but 1 common denominator that they ALL bring out is…prayer! They all say that if you’re not willing to pay the price in prayer, don’t expect the power to come!
John R. Rice tells of when he was 20, new pastor, called to do a revival in a country church outside of Decatur, TX (I’ve been there!) He was part of a 2 man ministry team w/ a Bro. Ross [preaching]/Rice was leading the singing/found out they hadn’t had a single person saved in 2 yrs./dead!/actually warned not to expect too much/but they were young, zealous, enthusiastic, believed in prayer/sang and preached on Sunday…nothing happened/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/…on Saturday morning they met and talked about the week, and what was wrong, committed to make Sunday a day of fasting and prayer/Saturday night told the church we’re gonna have a full day at church, come early to pray before s.s., and let’s stay all afternoon and fast, have a 3 pm service, then pray until evening service at 7, let’s tell God we’re not letting go until He blesses us!/…they did it, the church got excited and believed God could do it/all morning, nothing happened/stayed all afternoon fasting and praying/3 pm service…nothing happened/end of service took testimonies and prayer requests/elderly lady said her request is for someone to get saved/Rice went to Bro. Ross and said, let’s believe God for 10 souls in the final service!/you believe it will happen?/Rice: I want it to happen/but do you believe it will?/ok, yes, I do!/…they and the church continued fasting and praying until 7, no one wanted to leave the building, or their knees, they didn’t talk and fellowship, they prayed earnestly./…looked up at 7 and the building that was only half full before was now packed!/they had to put people in the choir loft/windows looked like picture frames as people tried to peer in from outside!/Bro. Rice led the singing, Bro. Ross gave a simple gospel message, gave invitation…said the first man came fwd. to be saved from the choir loft, a known bootlegger!/many others flooded the altars repenting of sin and praying for God to move!/another man in the choir loft was under such deep conviction that he didn’t use the aisles but just stepped in front of him on empty seats to get to the altar/they continued counseling w/ people, leading them to Christ, one after another, until 11 pm that invitation continued, and no one went home/everyone could feel the Lord’s presence, and most everyone was at the altar sometime in there, many several times!/…Bro. Rice recounted that at 11 they were done counseling, there was nothing left to do, but no one wanted to go home, they all wanted to know the count!/they had believed God for 10 souls, not much more than 100 could even fit in the building…but they anxiously lined them up across the front, how many are there?/there were 23!/Why?