Summary: This sermon explains how the church should pray and the wonderful results of corporate prayer.
If there has ever been a time that the church needs to pray, then that time is right now. As a matter of fact, the church can’t afford not to pray. The sinful condition of this world that we’re living in should compel the church to get on her knees. The church must realize that prayers can’t be answered unless they are prayed. It’s through prayer that the church has made it this far, yet church prayer meetings have less people than a convenient store at 3:00 in the morning. In other words there empty. If the church wants to have knowledge of God’s will, agreement with His designs, enjoyment of His presence, and conformity to His image, then prayer must flow from lips of the church.
Prayer is key in the church’s relationship with God. Prayer is how the church communicates with a Holy and Divine God. Prayer is how God has chosen to hear the petitions of the church and prayer is how the church makes her petitions known to God. If the church is the bride of Christ, then communication through prayer must exist. Without prayer the church has no way of communicating her needs to God, and the church has no way of knowing what God wants her to do. The absence of prayer makes it difficult for the church to function and operate. Oh, but what a difference there is when the church prays.
The scriptures are filled with many examples that can help today’s church be what God wants it to be, and it is in our text that we find a church that prays. The book of Acts is a continuation of the gospel of Luke. In this book, Dr. Luke gives us an account of the beginning and history of the early church. After the preaching of the gospel on the Day of Pentecost, the church began to grow and spread rapidly. Christianity was considered a sect of Judaism, therefore making it unpopular among the Jews. Because Christianity wasn’t accepted by most, the church began facing persecution not only by the Gentiles, but from the Jews as well. It was during this time that Saul, before his conversion, reeked havoc upon the early church. Church leaders were beginning to become victims of these persecutions, and Stephen became one of the first to die for his faith.
As we take a closer look into our text, we find the church still in the midst of persecution and crisis. King Herod Agrippa, who came from a line of evil rulers, had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. The church leaders became targets for persecutors, and when Herod saw that the murder of James pleased the Jews he then came after Peter. You know Peter, the one who was fishing in the Sea of Galilee when Jesus called him to be a fisher of men. Peter, who’s faith allowed him to walk on water until he took his eyes off of Jesus. Peter, who claimed Jesus to be the Christ, the son of the living God. This is the same Peter Herod had arrested, and when Peter was arrested he was put into prison and guarded by 16 soldiers. King Herod possibly heard of Peter and the other apostles divine escape from prison before, therefore he wanted to make sure that Peter wouldn’t go anywhere this time. But how many of you know that God’s power can’t be limited?