Summary: What happens when the people of God pray to God.
What If His People Prayed?
Casting Crowns sing a song that says this:
”What if His people prayed”
”And those who bear His name”
”Would humbly seek His face”
”And turn from their own way”
”And what would happen if we prayed”
”For those raised up to lead the way”
”Then maybe kids in school could pray”
”And unborn children see light of day”
”What if His people prayed”
Folks, MANY amazing things will happen IF GOD’S PEOPLE WILL PRAY!! Throughout the Book of Acts we read of the amazing power that was experienced by the early church. Throughout church history the men & women of God have experienced great power.
We have all read of the great work that God did through men like:
o D.L Moody
o Billy Sunday
o Charles Finney
o C.H Spurgeon
o John Wesley
o Billy Graham and others
I have heard many of you speak of the glory days of this church. But, for some reason it seems that when we speak of power in the church it is always in the past tense. If that is the case (and it is) then the natural question would be: “what happened”?
i. Is it that the Lord has changed? Absolutely not! - Malachi 3:6 for I am the LORD, I change not…
ii. Is it the wicked society that we live in? - Elijah experienced God’s power during the reign of Ahab. So what is stopping us?
iii. Is it government oppression? - Peter, James & John had to deal with persecution from the Religious & Governmental leaders of their day and we read that “The Lord added unto the church daily”
iv. Is it the songs we sing? - No! Whether you like the beat or the melody the songs that we sing are biblical based songs that glorify Jesus.
v. Is it the sermons we preach? - If the sermons are biblical (and they are) then that is not the answer as to the lack of power in the church.
I believe that the answer to the problem is summed up in one word… PRAYER!! I am not talking about the invocation, offertory prayer or the benediction. I am talking about the people of God humbly bowing before God and crying out to Him with passion. So many people are focused on the hype and the traditions that they remember from their childhood instead of crying out to God for His power and presence in the church! We don’t need old time religion… WE NEED A MODERN DAY MOVE OF GOD!! I for one don’t want the “Old Time Religion” that my parents may have experienced when they were younger. I don’t even want the “Old Time Religion” that my grandparents knew.
1) I want the POWER that Paul and Silas experienced in the midst of a jailhouse when they prayed and an earthquake shook the foundation of the prison and broke the chains that bound them.
2) I want the power that Steven possessed as he was stoned to death due to his testimony for the Lord Jesus. As he stood there with death approaching he looked at towards heaven and said “I see Jesus standing on the right hand of God”
3) I want the power that sustained James as Herod had him beheaded for the cause of Christ.
4) I want the power that the Church experienced right here in Acts chapter 12 as they fervently prayed for the release of Peter.
Today I want to look at that very subject and ask the question “What If His People Prayed”? I would like to start with:
I. PRAYER: THE REASON FOR IT - v1 now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
James, one of the Lord’s faithful disciples has been apprehended and beheaded by Herod. Now Peter is imprisoned and facing the same fate. The Jews hated the Gospel and the church that propagated it. The persecution that Herod exhibited brought him a great advantage politically. It was his intention to hold Peter until after Easter and then execute him. Surely the church realized that if execution was the enemies plan for Peter & James then they may be sentenced to death as well.