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Prelude to Power

By Donald Charles Lacy

Acts 4:31

Prayer is a sacred covenant. We usually associate it with solemnity and holy words. Of course, there are humorous situations which come with it.

Let's take the case of little 8-year-old Mary Lou. In planning a picnic her friends purposely leave her out. It isn't until the very last minute they give in and issue an invitation. Her mother offers a sigh of relief. She calls out, "Hurry, dear. Wash your face. Slip on a clean dress. I'll fix your picnic lunch." Mary Lou slowly walks up to her mother and despondently explains, "Mother, it's no use. I've just finished praying for rain."

Then, there is a group of farm families waiting for their new preacher. It is a scorching hot summer day. The crops are needing rain very badly. When he arrives, they immediately ask him to pray for rain. He responds positively and offers a beautiful prayer. Slightly before the benediction is pronounced, a great storm breaks lose. Fields are flooded. Crops are washed away. Bridges come tumbling down. Monday morning two of the farmers are observing the disaster. One grumbles to the other: "Well, that's the way with these new preachers. Everything they do, they overdo."

Finally, we must not forget about little Tommy. In just seven days he will be six years old. His prayers are getting noticeably longer and louder. It comes time for his usual bedtime talk with God. He kneels with his forehead on the blanket and begins praying in a voice which can be heard for several yards. He lists the many thing he wants for his birthday. His mother quite irritatingly says, "Don't pray so loudly. The Lord isn't deaf'. He pays no attention to his mother. So, she goes into his bedroom and taps him on the shoulder. He looks up at her with an angelic innocence. He whispers, "S'hh, Mom, I know the Lord isn't deaf; but Grandma is in the living room, and she is."

In a more serious mood, do we see in all three instances that we have expectation and a sense of fulfillment born from a trust in God? Mary Lou knows the picnic will be ruined. She has prayed for rain. The farmers and their families believe their new preacher can get rain for them. He does! Tommy knows the Lord can hear his prayers. Yet, who could carry them out better than Grandma?

The prayer-life for dedicated Christians around the world is a series of sacred covenants with God.

The word "covenant" indicates the heart of the God — Man relationship in the Old Testament . . . God, Noah, and the rainbow; God, Abraham, and circumcision; and the entire Book of Exodus.

Both in theory and practice the First Century Church finds and utilizes prayer as a sacred covenant. In a highly meaningful way it is their "prelude to power". Listen to a few words out of that great Book born in the First Century (Acts 4:31): "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." (NIV)

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