Summary: 6 truths about prayer.
March 13, 2005
Traveling On Your Knees
Last night I took a journey
to a land across the seas.
I didn’t go by ship or plane
I traveled on my knees.
I saw so many people there
In bondage to their sin,
And Jesus told me I should go,
That there were souls to win.
But I said, "Jesus, I can’t go
To lands across the seas."
He answered quickly, "Yes, you can
By traveling on your knees."
He said, "You pray, I’ll meet the need.
You call, and I will hear.
It’s up to you to be concerned
For lost souls far and near."
And so I did; knelt in prayer,
Gave up some hours of ease,
And with the Savior by my side,
I traveled on my knees.
As I prayed on, I saw souls saved
And twisted persons healed,
I saw God’s workers’ strength renewed
While laboring in the field.
I said, "Yes Lord, I’ll take the job.
Your heart I want to please.
I’ll heed your call and swiftly go
By traveling on my knees."
We won’t read all of these verses but I want us to notice what power prayer had in the life of Peter and so hope to encourage us in our prayers for others.
Cornelius is a God-fearing centurion. Verse 2 tells us he prayed regularly. Verse 4 tells us that his prayers and gifts to the poor had come up as a memorial before God.
1. Consistent prayer garners God’s attention.
a. Martin Luther said, "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.
Chapter 10:9-15, 27-35
2. Prayer instructs our spirit.
a. In a scene from Shadowlands, a film based on the life of C.S. Lewis, Lewis has returned to Oxford from London, where he has just been married to Joy Gresham, an American woman, in a private Episcopal ceremony performed at her hospital bedside. She is dying from cancer, and, through the struggle with her illness, she and Lewis have been discovering the depth of their love for each other. As Lewis arrives at the college where he teaches, he is met by Harry Harrington, an Episcopal priest, who asks what news there is. Lewis hesitates; then, deciding to speak of the marriage and not the cancer, he says, "Ah, good news, I think, Harry. Yes, good news."
Harrington, not aware of the marriage and thinking that Lewis is referring to Joy’s medical situation, replies, "I know how hard you’ve been praying .... Now, God is answering your prayer."
"That’s not why I pray, Harry," Lewis responds. "I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God; it changes me."
3. Prayer breaks down barriers.
4. Prayer furthers the Gospel.
5. Prayer can overcome any obstacle.
a. Ironic that this Herod was anxious to kill Christians around the Passover when Jesus had been crucified. And interesting to note that this Herod was related to Herod Antipas who had John the Baptist beheaded and allowed Jesus to be crucified. And it is also interesting to me that the best trained guards in the world, 16 of them, were helpless to prevent anything God wanted to accomplish just like the guards at the tomb of Jesus and they were all executed.
b. It didn’t matter the prison, the guards, the impending trial, the shackles on his wrists or the iron gate—Peter was getting out of that jail.
6. Prayer answered is always greater than we can imagine.
a. There was a pastor who had a parrot. All the parrot would say was, “Let’s pray, let’s pray.” The pastor tried to teach him to say other things but to no avail. He learned that one of his deacons had a parrot. Thet parrot would only say, “Let’s kiss. Let’s kiss.” So the pastor decided to invite the deacon and his parrot over to his house. When the deacon arrived they put the parrots into the same cage to see what would happen. The deacon’s parrot said, “Let’s kiss, let’s kiss.” The pastor’s parrot said, “Thank you, Lord. My prayers have been answered.”
There’s great power in prayer.
b. Rhoda was astonished but the rest of them were sure she was mistaken.
c. I don’t think that they doubted, I think they simply expected a more “natural” way of deliverance.
d. Expect the unexpected.
e. Billy Graham said, “Heaven is full of answers to prayers for which no one ever bothered to ask.” Have faith in the God of the dream; let’s ask God to bring the dream to completion. God’s answer is ready; it’s just waiting for our personal and persistent request.