Mike Gerhardt, 11-17-19, Prayer Meeting. Read Acts 4:23-31. People can be different. I want you to express your opinion. Let’s start. Who is your favorite New York NFL Team? Only Buffalo is in NY. What’s your favorite sport to watch? Did someone really say golf? What is your favorite chain restaurant? McDonald’s? I know for a happy meal. Apple or PC? Democrat or Republican? Cellphone: Samsung, iPhone, LG, Google, Motorola, Huawei (Wah Way produced 225 million phones in 2018), Xiaomi, Oppo? Now some of you were more expressive than others. My wife is from a proper English family where at dinner for 10 there’s was one conversation at a time. My family at dinner for 10, you’d have ten or more conversations at a time. I was the quiet one. The difference in people, differences in cultures lead me to see that joining as one in corporate prayer in our day and age is an act of God. The Israelites were very expressive, think of the Wailing Wall. There was a concentration of duty at that meeting. It was born out of service for the Lord. Peter and John came in from the trenches, and the church met to pray to push back the enemy. The church of Jesus Christ was just beginning. It was a united and urgent prayer meeting and a loud one at that. The people were of one heart. They raised their voices meaning they got loud, everyone praying at once, with one message. Persecution united them in prayer. Verses 4:1-22 set the atmosphere. John and Peter were interrogated by the High Priest Anna and Caiaphas, by the rulers, elders, and teachers, the entire Sanhedrin, they were surprised by their courage especially when Peter said verse 12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved! Verse 19: Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you or to Him?
The people prayed. Verse 24 Sovereign Lord is the God who is in control of all things. The Greek means despot, a ruler who exercises absolute power. The Creator Father is Lord of heaven and earth. The early church believed in God’s perfect plan for His people. Their faith in divine sovereignty did not take away their human responsibility, for they were faithful to witness and pray. Augustine: Pray as though everything depends on God and work as though everything depended on you. Faith in a Sovereign Lord brings courage to keep serving when the going is difficult. They didn't ask for protection; they asked for power. They didn't ask for fire from heaven to destroy their enemy, but power from heaven to preach and heal the sick. Boldness in prayer comes from faithful service. Is God still Sovereign? YES!! Dr. R.A. Torrey, evangelist, and educator, said: Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all—pray.
Prayer filled with Scripture quoting Psalm 2. They saw the fulfillment in this passage. Praying the scriptures is a good practice. God speaks to us in His Word and we speak to Him in our prayers. 1 John 5:14–15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. Lord’s Prayer: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. They did not pray to have their circumstances changed or their enemies put out of office. Verse 29: Lord enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. They asked God to empower them to work in their circumstances and to do what God had determined. This was not fatalism but faith. They asked for divine enablement, not an escape. Verse 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. Phillips Brooks wrote: Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your power. Pray for power equal to your tasks.
They prayed for boldness. Never underestimate the power of a praying church! God alone can do the extraordinary, but His people must do the ordinary. Before we leave this section, it would be profitable to consider how Christians can best pray for the persecuted; for even today there are many in prison only because they are Christians. Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them. In other words, pray for them as you would want them to pray for you if your situations were reversed. We ought to pray that God will give them the grace to bear with suffering so that they might have a triumphant witness for the Lord. We should ask the Spirit to minister the Word to them and bring it to their remembrance. Ask God to protect them and to give them wisdom as they must negotiate with the enemy. We must ask God if it is His will, to deliver them from their bondage and suffering and reunited with their loved ones. Pray for our international workers. One of the first missionaries to India and Persia, Henry Martyn said, The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions, and the nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we must become.
Pray for them to be on task and not be distracted. Pray to keep focus on the work of God. Take time to pray over the requests on our national website or the CMA app. We must pray together and often.
This Friday night we are looking at a major decision. Pray for the membership to have spiritual wisdom. If you want to join me in prayer before the 7 PM meeting I will be here praying by 6:15. When was the last time you were at a prayer meeting that ended in an earthquake? Don’t reminisce for days past, think of new ways to get some friends together and pray for what is on God’s heart.