Summary: Do you believe in praying bold and wild prayers? Do you believe that if you asked God to do something "impossible" that He would? Frankly, the story in Acts 12 doesn't look like these folks believed that. Did God look down on them for their doubt?
OPEN: Back in 1540 Martin Luther was very distressed.
His good friend and assistant, Friedrich Myconius, was sick and was expected to die within a short time. From his bed Myconius wrote a tender farewell letter to Luther.
When Luther received the message, he immediately sent back this reply:
"I command thee in the name of God to live because I still have need of thee in the work of reforming the church -- the Lord will never let me hear that thou art dead, but will permit thee to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God."
That’s some pretty wild praying.
Have you ever prayed a prayer like that?
Do you think you’d feel comfortable praying like that?
It almost seems like Luther was BOLDLY approaching the throne of God and making a demand of God.
But wait a minute. Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us that since Jesus has made the ultimate sacrifice for us “…we have CONFIDENCE to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
We have confidence to BOLDLY enter into the most Holy Place. Into God’s very throne room. And we can enter there boldly only because of the blood of Jesus Christ. No one else but a Christian is given that permission. No one else has the right to come into the very presence of God and speak to Him.
And more than that, God gives us permission to pray Bold and Wild Prayers.
Jesus said "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20
That seems fairly bold to me.
It seems a fairly WILD thing to ask of God.
Do you think God would actually answer a prayer like that?
ILLUS: Back in 1874, there was a small group of believers in Swan Quarter, North Carolina that decided it was time to build a permanent church building to hold services in. The church committee picked out a perfect site for a church building. It was in the heart of town on its highest spot of their village. After much prayer they approached the owner of the lot, (a man named Sam Sadler) and asked to purchase the land.
But Sadler wouldn’t sell.
Though disappointed, the congregation accepted other property in town (offered as a gift) and began to build their building. It took over a year to construct and it was a modest structure set on brick piers. Even before it was finished people began to worship in it.
Just before they dedicated their new church building (Sept. 16, 1876) a huge storm swept the community. Rain fell and the wind blew well into the next day and the wind was so fierce and the tide rose so high that the force of the water moved the little church building off its foundation… and it began to float down the road.
It went straight down the road to a corner and bumped into a general store.
The building took a sharp right turn and floated for about 2 city blocks until it reached the corner of what is now Church Street.
Then it moved slightly off course, took another turn to the left and crossed the Carawan Canal and eventually settled (pause)
Well… well do you think it settled?
Exactly in the center of Sam Sadler’s property.
Sadler was so convinced he’d seen the mighty hand of providence at work that he sold his land to the church. And when the building was dedicated years later, it was called "Providence". It still stands today - on the property to which God moved it on that day.
Now, I don’t know if that church building’s unusual journey was the result of prayer or not, but I’m convinced that God had a little fun with Mr. Sadler that day.
And I believe that God caused that to happen so that we would understand we have a God for Whom NOTHING is impossible.
ILLUS: I have seen God do mighty things. I have seen prayers answered so many times in ways that amazed me that I could probably spend a whole hour this morning just telling you about them. But instead, I’m going to focus on just one story – because it concerns this church and it illustrates how I responded to God’s providence that day.