Summary: When faced with a challenge does your prayer reflect your faith? This message looks at the prayer life of the early beievers as they faced a threatening challenge
"WHAT ARE YOU PRAYING FOR?"
Acts 4: 23-31
PREPARATION: Read and be familiar with the book "Who Moved My Cheese"
A) Zig Ziglar story of boy that went with his mother to the old general store. He liked to sneak away from his mother and when no one was looking he would dip his finger into the large barrel of molasses. The storekeeper caught him doing this and decided to teach the boy a lesson. He picked up the boy by his britches and dunked him head first into the barrel of molasses and then set him out on the front porch of the store. But instead of crying the boy was out there praying, “God, give me the tongue to equal this opportunity.”
1) Peter and John healed the crippled beggar
2) Peter preaching healing and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus
3) Religious Leaders holding and threatening Peter and John not to speak in the name of Jesus any more
B) Read Text:
C) 4 Truths found in the text
1) Early Believers understood that God is in Control and they lived it
2) When faced with significant challenge, they prayed
3) What they prayed for is amazing
a) Not that God would remove the problem
b) That God would make them equal to the task
4) They expected God to work through them… to answer their prayer, and He did
a) They asked for boldness and the received boldness!
III) WHO MOVED MY CHEESE SUMMARY
A) A quick (3-5 minutes) summary of the book. Looking at the 4 main characters.
B) Point out the nature of change, and how people respond to it.
IV) EARLY BELIEVERS FACED WITH A THRETENING PROBLEM
A) Religious Leaders proven that they are capable of manipulating the system to get people executed, and now they were coming after the believers
B) Could have prayed, "Bring back our cheese" (Remove the problem)
1) Instead the prayed "Give us the ability to find new cheese" (Make us equal to the task
V) They were able to pray this type of prayer because they understood that God has everything in control
A) Jesus was raised to life
B) They would be too
C) Promise and hope of the resurrection gave them courage
D) Their confidence in asking was because they expected God to work
1) They didn’t hope for, or wish, or, "God it would be nice if you could."
2) They expected God to answer their prayer.
VI) GREAT LESSON FOR US!
A) Personally when you face challenges what do you pray for?
1) Bring back my cheese (take away my problem)
2) Or Equal me to the task of finding new cheese
B) When faced with an overwhelming challenge, remember that God makes it a fair fight.
1) Actually it is still an unfair fight, but now the advantage is in your favor, because the power of God is on your side!
C) As A Church
1) Like it or not the culture has changed
2) What are we praying for?
3) Bring back our cheese!
a) Make things the way they used to be
b) More to the point, make things the way I want them to be
4) Or do we pray equip us with the desire and the ability to accept the changes and find new cheese
5) In other words are we praying...
a) God, bring our culture back to my way of thinking and back to the church
b) Or our we praying God equip us to go and bring them into your Kingdom
VII) GOD DESIRES TO WORK IN AND THROUGH HIS PEOPLE
A) He granted the very bold and unselfish request of the early believers and equipped them for the task
B) Making excuses is not pleasing to God
1) He has unlimited resources and wants to give them to us so He can work in and through us
2) “Can’t afford it" is slapping God in the face
a) Don’t believe it is ever a lack of money
b) Either a lack of vision or a lack of faith
c) One other possibility: it is an attitude that says God, your job is to bring back my cheese…Just a thought.
C) Do You Expect God to work through your faithfulness?
D) Better Question…Do you want Him too?
1) Risks involved in asking to be equaled to the task
2) It can be costly (in the form of what we might have to give up in order to do it)
E) But what would happen if we prayed the prayer of the early believers?
1) What would happen if we prayed that God would equal us to the task of reaching a lost people in this present day?
2) Would the Holy Spirit add to our numbers daily?
"WHAT ARE YOU PRAYING FOR?"