1.0 What Happens When We Pray Together? Acts 1:4
1.1 We’re answering the prayer of Jesus. [p. 770]
Mark 11:17-”My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
1.2 We’re responding to God’s invitation to pray.
Jer. 33:3-”Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
- True praying is SPECIFIC (not general).
- True praying aligns with the SCRIPTURES.
- It’s invitational; thus it expects answers from God.
- It waits to hear a response from God.
- True praying is SPIRITED (passionate).
- It’s passionate because it’s relational.
The one praying loves God and wants to keep the relationship healthy and tight.
STORY: The Mayo Brothers, Doctors Will and Charles, were founders of the world-famed Mayo Clinics. Said Dr. Will Mayo: ”I have seen patients that were dead by all standards. We knew they could not live. But I have seen a minister come to the bedside and do something for him that I could not do, although I have done everything in my professional power. But something touched some immortal spark in him and in defiance of medical knowledge and materialistic common sense, that patient LIVED!”
In the first four chapters of Acts we’ll learn of the role of prayer in the Early Church.
2.0 What Happens When the Church Prays?
[I Offer 4 Answers.]
2.1 #1: Prayer BIRTHS promises.
[Acts 1:4-5, 12-14]
The church needs what God has promised.
Note: God’s promises are His pledges to do for you if YOU obey Him.
- The church needed the H.S. baptism.
- The church needed a faith goal-a target that required focused prayer.
- The church needed to walk in power.
- Many hands are needed in the birth room.
- Awareness of God’s promises creates excitement.
- Pondering God’s promises awakens the need for alignment.
- Seizing God’s promises requires the hard work of prayer-birthing prayer.
- These 120 members ASKED.
- They were in the Upper Room SEEKING God for 10 days.
iii. They KNOCKED until the door opened.
Quote: Pastor Jack Hayford gave this subtitle to his book, Prayer is Invading the Impossible: ”If we don’t, He won’t.”
- We must see the importance of God’s promises.
- Promises represent God’s compassion and care for you.
- Promises represent God’s character.
- It represents God’s vision of your future.
#1: Prayer BIRTHS promises.
Q: What happens when the church prays?
2.2 #2: Prayer CREATES atmosphere.
Note: Atmosphere means the dominant mood and feeling of all; a prevailing influence.
The Early Church created an atmosphere of expectation through prayer.
- They expected people to find Jesus irresistible BECAUSE they did [v. 43].
- They expected healings and miracles.
- They expected their personal needs to be met.
- They expected to walk in unity-communitas.
Note: The Latin word communitas and not community more vigorously depicts a community that emerges from a shared ordeal or those that define themselves as a group with a mission that lies beyond them-thus initiating a risky journey. This is one that does not look for comfort and convenience as the basis of forming.
- They expected to meet the local church’s needs.
- They expected people to get saved.
- They expected the church to grow.
- Prayer created this atmosphere.
2.3 #3: Prayer IMPACTS Culture.
[Acts 3:1-10; 4:1-4]
The culture is engaged with the gospel. The church established a set time of prayer-3:00 p.m. (3:1).
- They met together to PRAY and simply did not pray as individuals. All wanted to share the load of impacting culture.
- Prayer was placed in their schedules.
- The culture is impacted when people get saved (4:1-4).
- God’s dream for individuals and communities come alive at conversion.
- Behavior that’s detrimental to a good society is stopped upon conversion.
Fact: According to the Department of Economic Security, ”Drugs and alcohol are a huge factor in Arizona’s spike in kids being placed in foster care. Of the 10,141 children removed from their homes statewide in fiscal year 2012, at least 59 percent were removed because drugs or alcohol use were contributing factors to maltreatment.” Source: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/parental-substance-abuse-the-main-reason-kids-end-up-in/article_9add334f-8496-5ada-a4bf-35aabeda024f.html Accessed 1/17/14
Q: What happens when the church prays?
2.4 #4: Prayer PRODUCES Victory.
[Acts 4:23-24, 29-31]
- A victorious perspective overpowers FEAR.
- They stayed missionally focused despite the threats and uncertainties.
- They would not let fear overpower them.
- They wanted to serve God with courage-all their heart and soul.
- They kept praying BOLD prayers.
Acts 4:29-30-”Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
- They wanted to keep speaking boldly for the Lord.
- They wanted to keep experiencing healing miracles.
- A victorious perspective produces FAITH.
- We’re forced to purse God’s perspective in the face of real problems and challenges.
- It takes courage to listen to God when others are saying you’re narrow minded, out of touch, or old fashioned.
- A victorious perspective helps you develop CONFIDENCE in God’s willingness to answer prayer.
- The place shook because of the Holy Spirit’s presence and affirmation.
- The Holy Spirit refilled ALL of them.
God REWARDS the CHURCH that PRAYS!
Heb. 11:6-”He rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
What are YOU going to do about
what you heard today?
Tan, Paul Lee: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers. Garland TX : Bible Communications, 1996, c1979