Summary: When the church prays as a body, God accomplishes great things in His world.
September 16, 2001 Acts 4:23-31
“When the church prays”
1. The church prays in response to God‘s actions. (4:23-24)
They were thankful for God’s deliverance.
[recount the events that led up to this impromptu prayer meeting]
Sometimes, God chooses to rescue His people from danger. At other times, He walks with them right through the middle of it. Regardless of which it is, our proper response to God is to be thankful.
What do we have to be thankful about concerning the events of this week?
- Be thankful that you were not there. When Tammy heard about all of this, one of her first thoughts was of her brother. Up until just a short time ago, he lived in New York and worked in the financial district there. She was relieved that he was no where near the disaster. Then, yesterday, she found out that he makes a trip once a week to New York for a meeting with other staff of his company. Guess where that meeting is held? – you guessed it, the World Trade Center. Thankfully, this was not the week scheduled for that meeting.
- Be thankful that your family was not there. Kiss your children. Hug on them. Some people will never again have that opportunity.
- Be thankful for those passengers who thwarted the plans of the hijackers on the plane that crashed in Penn.
- Be thankful that Tuesday, as bad as it was, was not as bad as it apparently had been planned to be.
- Be thankful for leaders who are working hard to see to it that something like this never happens again.
Regardless of how bad the situation may be, you can always find something to thank God for.
They were together in their praise to God.
When they were released, the first thing that they did was to seek out other believers. Tough times bring people together. Billy Graham, in his comments at the National Cathedral on Friday said that this event could have torn us apart as a nation, but instead, it has brought us together. It is virtually impossible to find a flag for sale in any store in the United States. They have all been sold and are being proudly displayed all over our nation. I heard that K-Mart sold 88,000 on Wednesday and even more the day after. It was encouraging to see our senators stand shoulder to shoulder on the steps of the capitol, all singing “God Bless America”. They set aside their labels, Democrats and Republicans, and said with one voice, “We are behind you, Mr. President, and we will do whatever it takes to bring justice to this situation.” The enemy is no longer the person sitting across the aisle. The enemy is now terrorism.
We could learn something from them. Instead of turning our anger on the person sitting across from us for some action that they committed or some obligation they failed to fulfill, remember who the true enemy is. The enemy is not your brother. The enemy is not your landlord. The enemy is not even Asama Ben Laden. The enemy is Satan. Turn your anger toward him. Attack his strongholds with one voice and one resolve. Then you will defeat more than just terrorism. You will defeat hunger, and war, and famine and hate. We must unite in our praise to God and in our supreme commitment to grow His kingdom on earth.
2. The church prays in recognition of God’s control. (4:24-28)
They recognized His sovereignty as the God of creation. (vs. 24) “you…made”
God is in control of the world He made – “…[He] holds all things together.” When it looks like the world around you or your personal world is falling apart, remember that God really does have the whole world in His hands.
God is bigger than the world He made. There is no problem that you have that is bigger than God’s ability to solve it. There is also no problem that you have that is bigger than God’s ability to use it. The God that we serve is able to make all things work together for good. The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity for God to show Himself mighty.
God knows the limits of the humans that He made, namely you. “God remembers that we are but dust.” He will not give us more than we can handle through His strength. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Cor 10:13) The temptation right now is fear. But God provides a way out. It is to trust completely in the God who made it all.