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Aug 14, 2022

Powerful Prayer

Powerful Prayer

Passage: Acts 2:42

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Moving Forward

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: worship, prayer, faith, jesus, sunday, god, sermon, christian, bible, gospel, hope, pray, holy spirit, praying, believe, inspiration, jesus christ, thanksgiving, bible study, godly, how to pray, our father, meditation, peaceful, moving forward, meditate, live music, powerful prayer, morning prayer, how to pray effectively, hallowed be thy name, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, pray to god, burnt hickory worship

As we continue our sermon series Moving Forward, we focus on how personal and corporate prayer are a vital part of momentum in our lives as Christians. As we follow Jesus, the first thing we should do is pray, but usually it’s the last thing we think about. We see in Acts that the early church took prayer very seriously. They prayed regularly and with honesty. They prayed with balance but also specifically for needs. And we see that their prayer got results. Don’t know where to begin, just follow Jesus’ example in Matthew 6:9-13. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” Is your prayer life powerful? Is it effective? How can you know that your prayers are making a difference? As always, we’d love to pray with you and answer any questions you have. Reach out today – burnthickory.com/next

Well, good morning, Church. Hopefully you are doing well this week. Hey, there's something over the last couple of weeks that I forgot to do. I need you to do something. If you are a sixth grader in the room. Will you stand up for me really quickly if you're a sixth grader? Come on. Can we give these guys a hand? Yeah. Awesome. You guys can sit down. This is their first time in big church. And we didn't ever welcome them to the house. That's it. That's our fault. We're really sorry for that. Couple of things before I jump into the message today. Over the last couple of weeks, we've been talking through our building vision for 2023. We've been looking at how we want to make some additions and some just refurbs to this building to be able to better reach this community. We've talked about it for the last two weeks. And I want to remind you, just have a couple of things that we're looking to do. We're looking to put a new front commons area on the front of the building.

We're looking to build a counseling a community counseling space on this side named the Stephen's Community Counseling space. We're looking to add a life group room for adults. On to that, a new lobby, as well as an overhang for our senior adults on this side. And we need you to be praying that we can move in this direction. Now, look, we are a congregational model as a church, that's a real fancy way to say this. I can't just dream up something this big and go, We're doing it, and I need to write a check Chip. Let's do it. All right. That's not how this church works. This church speaks as a voice. We vote on this as a building project, and that is coming up next week. Next week, if you're a member here, if you're a member at Burnt Hickory, you have a voice into that. And we want you to know that that voice is to be heard. We want to hear that voice will vote next week on this. But also, along with that next week, we're asking Burnt Hickory families. If you're visiting today, just check out for a minute. Burnt Hickory Families, we're asking you to support this building program over the next year. We're going to ask you next week to pledge what your family can do towards giving towards this program. The reality is it's not free. It's about a 4-to-4.5-million-dollar project. And we need you over the next year to commit to give towards this project for our community. I had a conversation with a young believer this week that said, Matt, how do you know what to give to this? How do I know as a family how to do this? To which I was like, Well, that's a great question. Nobody's ever asked the preacher that question before, right? Because I mean, my initial answer was like, well, $4 million would be fabulous. I mean, if you're asking me. But I said, look, I don't know what you can give towards this. I don't know what people incomes and their lifestyles look like. But I said this. I said, I want you to think about three questions.

I just want to give you these three questions that I gave this young guy this week. Number one, I just said this. Have you and your wife together prayed about what God is asking you to do? Have you prayed out loud? God, what are you asking our family to do to support this? That was question one. And I'm going to ask you to pray that this week, number two, I said this. What does it look like for you to give according to your ability? According to your ability? He said, Well, what do you mean by that? I said, Well, here's the deal. In our church we have a wide range of people. We have a wide range of where people are in the financial world. And the reality is one person's $500 is another person's $50,000. There's really, it's according to how God has blessed you and according to where you are in life. I said, Are you giving according to your ability or are you giving like you're tipping your waitress at the Waffle House this afternoon? I said, here's our question. I said, is what you're giving and what you're thinking right now, is it sacrificial or is it easy? It's it sacrificial, or easy? He said, what do you mean by that? I said, Well, is it something that you won't even notice or is it something you may look at your family, go, Hey, look, you know what? This might be something we over the next year will give up in order to pave the way for the next generation. You know, a generation before us paved the way for this building, and now it is our turn to continue that legacy. Today at 5:00 is our last informational meeting in the Connections room upstairs. We will walk through the whole process, open it up for as many questions as possible. But next week we're asking you to come ready and prepared to go. God, where are we in this? And how can my family support it? All right.

Number two, that was number one. Number two, we need you in kids’ ministry. I mean, I was just going to say it out loud. We need you. What Josie didn't say earlier is we had 100 extra kids this past Wednesday night that we didn't think we were going to have. God showed up and sent them. Now, for me, that's really exciting. I'm like, go kids’ ministry. To them, they're like, Oh no, that's a lot of kids, right? We need you on Wednesdays. If you're not serving anywhere, if you don't have a place here, if you're not in a life course or even if you are in a life course, they could use you in a couple of weeks. We need you for your babies. There might come a day where if we don't have enough, we've got to close the door and go, Hey, we're full. But man, I don't think that's going to happen because you guys are faithful. Let me do something, then we're moving into the message. So let me just pray over these two things and then we'll walk into the message, Lord, we love you, Jesus. We offer these two requests to you. God, move in the hearts of people here, and God show us a miracle next week of us coming behind this building project. And number two, Lord Jesus send servants to take care of kids in this church. To disciple them. It's in your name Jesus. Amen. Amen.

Okay, commercial's over. Let's jump into the word. Acts chapter two and Acts chapter four is where we're going to be today. If you want to jump there in your Bibles. We're in a series that we're calling Moving Forward. Moving forward to where we're looking at this idea over the last couple of weeks and next week that we serve a God that is more concerned with where we are going than where we are coming from. We serve a God that wants to continually move in us, continually be with us, and continually put us on a direction that can honor him with our lives. We looked on week one on what it means for us to move personally and what it looks like for us to move as a church, and we ask God to move in our hearts. We looked at the children of Israel. We looked at him standing at the Jordan River in Joshua chapter three. We're behind them. Was wilderness ahead of them was the promise of God. And they taught us some things about the trust, the love, the mercy and the grace of God that will happen in our lives when we just put God ahead of us and submit to His will.

Last week we looked at the sin of Achan. And we said last week that while moving forward in God, what God has called us to do is to fully submit to him. There's a difference that we looked at last week in this. We looked at this compare and contrast of the fully submitted life and the partially submitted life to Christ. And we said that one of Satan's biggest tools in the church is for us just to partially submit to him, partially give our hearts to him, partially obey him. And what that does to us is it makes us puff ourselves up to think, well, at least I'm better than them, or at least I'm doing more than they are. But it also takes God off the throne and puts us there. It removes God's power from our lives, and it shows other people that we're really not serious about the God who saved us. So, we walked out last week just saying that God wants us to fully say, Yes, Lord, here I am and move in my heart. The reality is our job is to submit, but God's job is to move in our hearts. We're continuing on in this series this week, but we're going to move from the Old Testament over to the New Testament, and we're going to look at today what I think is the greatest untapped power that believers in Jesus Christ have. And we're going to look today what it looks like to move forward in powerful prayers. Now, notice I said the word powerful prayers because a lot of us know what prayer is, but we're not looking at just regular prayer today.

We're looking at powerful prayer. In fact, I read a couple of quotes early this week that kind of shaped this message in my heart, and I just want to read them to you by just some heroes of our faith, the first one is from the reformer, Martin Luther. He said this and I quote, To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. Hudson Taylor said this great missionary to China, and I encourage you pick up his biography. It's incredible. He said this to be a Christian without prayer. I'm sorry, he said this. That was Martin Luther. He said this. It is possible to move men through God by prayer alone, by prayer alone. E. M. Bounds, who wrote probably more books on prayer than any other person has ever lived, he said this, God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil. And here's the last one. It's about Billy. You can't say anything without mentioning Billy Graham, right? Here's what he said about it. To get the nations back on their feet, we must get down on our knees. Get down on our knees.

Now, look, when I read these quotes, I resonate with them, and I feel them. And I agree 100% wholeheartedly with them. I would even say amen to them. But here's what I know about myself. When I read quotes about the heroes of the faith praying, I know that they don't always make me feel great about my prayer life. I know they kind of press into my soul about the level of prayer and the level of commitment to prayer and powerful prayer in my life. Many times, when I read quotes like this and this happened this week in your pastor's life, I felt guilty. I feel guilty even in my life. I feel guilty how I'm praying. And I can say this probably this generalization. There's probably a lot of us in the same boat. There's probably a lot of us that they're thinking that same thing. When we read that, we're like, Oh, man, I, I do wish that's where I was in my prayer life. To which I'll say this over the years, as I've taught on prayer last 25 years, teaching on prayer, I've realized there's a couple of reactions when somebody like me teaches on prayer.

Number one, there are a lot of times, and this is pretty sad, but a lot of times there's this this kind of sense of boredom in the room. There's this sense of boredom because a lot of us feel like we know what prayer is. A lot of us feel like we know how to pray. We have seen people pray, and I've watched it over and over. A lot of us just kind of have flashbacks to our childhood and being in some of the longest prayer meetings of our entire life. I remember I remember Wednesday nights as a kid. So, either grew up in church and you were just like, Please, Lord Jesus, come back so we can get out of this prayer meeting. This thing is forever. I've heard about every sick cat and bunion in our county. I just need to get out of this place. Or there's those prayers where you're in a circle and people are praying. And I mean, you know, the circle prayer. Nobody ever teaches you how to do the hand squeeze thing, but you just learn how to do the hand squeeze and you don't really want to do it out loud. So, you always did the skip you hand squeeze over you and you're not thinking about praying. You're just thinking about what you're going to say. And they stole what you're going to say, the person beside you. So, you're coming up with a new prayer in the moment and you're like, I don't know what to pray. I'll come up with something, though. But a lot of us that's our prayer. And we get a get bored over our prayer lives.

But here's another reaction. When you teach on prayer, there's the sense of anxiety. There's the sense of everybody else knows something that I don't know or everybody else has this power that I don't have, or there's a sense of guilt. And many of us just quite frankly, I'm going to be as honest as I can with you today. Many of us just feel like we're bad at praying. We're bad. Now look, we'd never say that our small group that got us kicked out of the group, right? We never say that. But we just feel like we're bad at it. Or we just don't pray hard enough. We don't pray long enough. We don't pray enough. So, what do we do? We just get frustrated. We get frustrated. And eventually what happens as we get frustrated, and we get bored is that we don't see God's power move in us or through us. And eventually our prayer life begins to atrophy to be a little bit less and a little bit less and a little bit less. And then we look up after weeks and we go, Man, God, I haven't met with you in a long time. Let me let me let me just assure you this morning by saying that you're not alone in this. You're not alone in it. In fact, some of the greatest heroes of our faith, some of the greatest prayer warriors that have ever walked this earth, feel the same way we do sometimes. In fact, Martin Luther, I just gave you one of his quotes. If you read his biography, you'll see in there that he would spend upwards of 3 hours a day regularly before God in prayer. But yet he said, many, many, many times he would walk out of that prayer moment, feel inadequate, and feeling as if he was unsatisfied in what he did before the king.

Man, I've just learned that a lot of us feel frustrated. We feel disappointed, we feel inadequate. We feel like a lot of times, quite frankly, our prayers are just not being heard. So, here's what I want to do this morning. I want to show you that God did not intend that to be our prayer lives. In fact, God intended the opposite to be true. Did you know that God intended prayer in your life to be joyful, life giving, peace giving, natural, and power providing? But we've turned it into the opposite, where it's just a drudgery for some of us. For some reason now we're just walking away from it, not feeling it anymore. Let me just tell you how the Apostle Paul described prayer in Philippians four, and then we'll get to Acts in a minute. He said this I'm reading now the New Living Testament. He said, at the most basic form, watch prayer. He said, do not worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, thank him for what He's done, and then you will experience God's peace, which extends, I mean, exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your heart and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Do you see what he just said to us? He said, Look, tell God about everything. Tell Him who He is. Thank Him for what he's done, and then you'll experience the joy of your life. That is the most foundational prayer message in the Bible. But the Bible has so much on prayer. Over 370 times the Bible talks about prayer. And this morning, we're going to look at the prayers of the New Testament believers, those closest to Jesus and the first church, because their prayers were powerful. Their prayers were powerful. And they teach us how we can pray. So, I'm going to give you seven things from their prayer life that if you will commit these seven things into your spirit, I guarantee you they will change your prayer life. Acts chapter two If you remember right from Bible history, Acts chapter two is the beginning of the church. Christ has died. He's been crucified. He has risen from the grave. He has walked among the people, and he has ascended back to the father. And now we are walking with the earliest church, showing us what it looks like to be a believer in Jesus Christ. And I want you to watch this in chapter two, verse 42, what they did said this in verse 42, it says this They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship and to the breaking of bread and to prayer. You ever want to know what the church did, who the church was? What's the earliest and most substantial callings as a believer in Jesus, they are listed right here. This might just be a spring sermon series, just a spoiler alert. But here's what I want you to notice in this list. These people knew that the power and the practice of prayer had to be imminent in their life. In fact, here's the first key to powerful prayer I want you to see from their lives.

Number one, they prayed regularly. They prayed regularly. You say Matt, how do you know that? Well, in verse 42, the first three words tell us that they devoted themselves. They devoted themselves. Now, what that says is that prayer was not a sporadic moment in their life. The prayer was not an afterthought. The prayer was not just something that happened when life, the bottom of life fell out or when everything hit the fan. Prayer was not just for troubled times. Prayer was not just for joy time. They prayed on every occasion. They prayed regularly. You say Matt, how do you know that? Well, I'm glad you ask. If you go back one verse or one chapter, you'll see in Acts chapter one verse 14. Watch what it says. It says They all joined together, talking about the same people. Constantly in prayer. Constantly in prayer. That means every time they got together, they prayed. They were constantly getting together and praying, You'll see that Mary and Martha and the Women and Jesus' brothers, and all these early church believers got together. One of the things that they did was they prayed to God. Not only that, if you go down to verse 24, they needed to replace Judas, the disciple who hung Jesus out to dry. Right? Who went to the Pharisees and told him where he was? He killed himself for it. They need to replace him. And how did they replace him? Acts 1:24 says this, then they prayed. That's how they knew how to replace him. Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these you have chosen. They didn't look around the room, go, Hey, who's the most popular?

Who do we think needs to do it? They went to the father and said, God, who is it? These 120 people were in the upper room. They were establishing the church. Now, look, there was no manual how to have a church. There was no program of how to plant a church and be successful. There was no class. You went to tell them how to grow a church. All they knew to do was to get together and devote themselves to these things, one of which was constant prayer. It was constant prayer. They do what any of us should do in any situation in our lives. They got together and they prayed regularly. They got together. They prayed regularly. Acts chapter one, they prayed. Acts chapter two the day of Pentecost. We skipped that one, they pray. Acts chapter four, we're going to look at it in a minute. When persecution happened, they prayed. Acts chapter six, when they were trying to decide what the principal role of the leaders of the church were. Remember, there was too many people to take care of. They said this about the Leaders Act 6:4 says, and they will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. It's one of the two primary functions of a guy like me, praying and preaching.

So here's the question that comes up in my mind when I read this this week. Is prayer, is prayer a regular part of my life or is it just for emergencies? Is prayer a part of my regular life, or is it something that I just call out when everything else seems to be going wrong? Is it a regular or part of who I am? Does it happen constantly in my life? This is why the Apostle Paul in First Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing right? Or to pray continuously, to which many of us, our whole lives, we read that was like, how do I pray constantly? What do I do? Walk around all day long with my head bowed and my eyes closed, just mumbling prayers to God over and over. If someone tries to talk to me, I'm like, No, no, no, be quiet. I'm praying right now. No, that's not what that means. You need to be a normal human being. You've got to eat. You've got to sleep. But here's what that means. It means prayer needs to be a primary time in your life. It needs to be something that happens in the joyous times and in the downtimes. It needs to be happening in the middle of the day and in the beginning of the day. It needs to be happening no matter what is going on. When Paul says pray without ceasing, he's referring to something that should be done in our lives regularly and often in our lives. It's what they did. They prayed regularly.

Number two, watch this. They prayed instinctively. Now there's a difference. They go together, but there's a difference. They prayed instinctively. What does that mean? I need to confess. I never saw this until I read this text through the context of prayer. But I want you to see the first reaction to anything that happened in the early church was to pray. It was to pray. When a problem hit, when an issue came up, when a decision was to be made, when someone brought something to their attention that rattled them, when something came into their life that blessed them, their first and instinctive reaction. This is how, you know, you're walking with Jesus, was to bring it before the father. It was to pray. Just for a second, I want you to think with me about Acts chapter 12. Acts chapter 12 Peter has been arrested. He has been put in jail. And in Acts chapter 12, verse five, just to kind of prove this point, listen to this. Says this. So, Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him, was earnestly praying to God for him. Now, what does that mean? That means it was the natural. It was the first thing they did. Now catch this. The early church, Peter didn't go into jail, and they didn't go, Hey, somebody run to Walgreen's, get some signs, we've got to picket, you know, let him go. They didn't walk around outside the jail walking around this place, demanding him to be let go. They didn't make signs. There was no letter writing campaign. There was no lawsuit. There was no ad taken out in the Jerusalem Journal. Whatever it may have been, I don't know. But what they did do is, first of all, they came and did the most powerful thing.

Listen, close that any of us can do is they brought it before God. They brought it before God. I'm not saying the rest of those things are bad, but I'm saying they're not primary. They're not primary. What did they do? The first thing they did was the most powerful thing they could do. They prayed. They talked to God about the situation. So, here's the question I want you to put in your notes for this week. Why is the first thing we should do, usually the last thing we think about doing? Why is the first thing that we should do about anything in our lives, usually the last thing we think about doing? Here's how I can describe this. Why is prayer become this, "well God, I've tried everything else, so I guess I just got to trust you now?" Well, God, you know what? There's nothing else I can do, God. So, I guess I'm just going to have to pray about this. Yeah, I've literally heard that word come out of some of his mouth before. Matt, I've tried everything I can do, so I'm just going to have to give this to God in prayer. And I'm like, Well, you could have saved yourself about six months of misery by swapping that order around. Right? But it's the truth, isn't it? Well, God, I've worked really, really hard and got nothing has worked. So, I guess I got to trust you and lift this one up. Do you? God, he got, like, really? Make it an instinct. Make it your first instinct.

One writer said it like this. And this is what settled in my soul this week. He said, Is prayer your steering wheel or is prayer your spare tire? That's what hit home. That's what it takes for me to understand something right there. Right here. Here's the difference in steering wheel spare tire. A steering wheel keeps you on the path. A steering wheel sets the direction, sets the course, sets the sets the safety in your life. Right. A spare tire is when everything else goes wrong just to get you somewhere. Is prayer a steering wheel in your life. Or is it just a spare tire? I guarantee you, for the early church, what we're seeing here is prayer is the wheel. It is the steering wheel. It is the joy, the hope, the meaning in God moved in their life. They prayed regularly. They prayed instinctively first. That's not where it stops. Want you to go with me to Acts chapter four. Because those are just general all over Acts, what happened and their prayer life. Acts chapter four is a specific prayer. We're going to join in with one of the best prayer meetings we have in the whole Bible. Peter and John had just been arrested. They were let go. The leaders looked at them and said, Hey, we're letting you go, but you cannot preach the gospel here. Can't say anything about God in the city anymore and watch what happened. Acts four verse 23 says this. It says On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer. Now watch. We're going to hear their prayer. We're seeing into their prayer right here. Incredible model prayer. Here's the prayer. Ready, sovereign lord, they said you made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our Father, David. Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. They're quoting from Psalm two. When they knew what it was. Verse 27. Indeed, Herod and Pontius Pilot met together with the Gentiles and with the people of Israel in this city, and conspired against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and your will had decided beforehand should happen. Verse 29. Now, Lord, consider their threats. Enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. Now watch 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.

Now, look, that's a prayer. That is a prayer. We've seen generally what this pray looks like, now let's pull some specifics to where we need to plug into our prayer lives. Number one, I want you to see this. They prayed honestly. They prayed honestly. Look at their prayer. It was heartfelt. It was authentic. It was candid. There was no pretentiousness about it. They were dealing with this life situation that they were threatened. They thought they would be arrested and mandated not to speak the gospel, even though God had told Jesus had already said, Your job is to speak about me. And so even all this, they came to God with this rawness and this honesty that God wants in our lives. And we see this all over the Bible. We see this all over prayers of the Bible, right? We see this all over Psalms about the prayers of people just being raw, honest prayers. We see that. Look at this one in Psalm 6:6, it says this. I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping.

Man, do you hear the honesty in that prayer? I want you to skip the next one, Psalm 22, going to look at Psalm 58:6. It says this. He said, break the teeth in their mouths. Oh, God, Lord, tear out their fangs of those lions. Now, that's an honest prayer, right? One of your preschoolers came home and prayed that tomorrow about that bully in preschool, right? But that's the point. Prayer is honest before God looking at him going, God, I need you. Do you know why they thought they could pray like this? Is because they knew that when they prayed, they were not shocking. God. God already knew their hearts. They weren't giving God; he was shocked about. And they knew that God is not impressed with our language. You do realize that God doesn't call Peter and John over in heaven and go, Hey, listen to the vocab of that guy down there, right? They don't do that, but he loves our hearts, and our hearts connect to his heart. That's prayer. They prayed honestly. But number four, I want you to see in the scripture here, they prayed with perspective. They pray with incredible perspective. Look at it when they begin their prayer. What did they begin their prayer with? By recognizing who they were praying to. That's how they started. Look at verse 24. Watch says this. It said when they heard this, they raise their voices together in prayer. Now here's their prayer. Here's what they said. Sovereign Lord. Sovereign Lord, they said. In other words, you are God. Now, notice they didn't come flippantly into this thing. They were like, Oh, Papa, come on now, get the closeness. All right? I'm not down in the fact that he is our father. But listen, we don't come into the presence of the father going, Hey, I'm flippant in this. They knew he was the sovereign lord of the universe. They walked into his presence. Which I'm like, Why do you go, Hey, Sovereign Lord, we don't need to tell God who He is, for God's sake. We tell Him for our sake. That's the perspective in this. You realize you're never going to reveal anything to God He doesn't know. But what we do when we come before God and go God, you are Lord.

What are we doing? We are agreeing with who He is, and our perspective is connecting with his heart. It keeps going. Watch what he says. He says this You made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. I mean, doesn't God already know what he made? Sure, he does. So why don't we say this? Because it elevates the perspective of who God is in our lives. It elevated their perspective. It elevates our perspective. They began praying where we should always begin praying, and that is recognizing who we are praying to. And He is Almighty. He is all God. I want you to see here the word, the normal word for the word Lord is the word Kurios in Greek. That's not the word that is used here. The word that is used here is the word Despot or Despotes depending on how you translate it. But it means sovereign Lord. It is the Lord of all Lord. It's not just a master, it is the master. Now, why did they use that? Because they wanted God to know how big he was in their eyes. Well, let me say it like this. They're looking at God going, God, before I ask you anything, I just need you to know that you can do anything. That's how God wants us to come into His presence. That's what makes our prayer life powerful. You see, some of our prayers are kind of like this. God, so freaked out right now. I don't know if you can handle this one. God's like, really? God its so, this is a big one God, I don't know if you're going to be able to grasp this one God. And God is like I am the maker of the universe. You realize this, right?

He's looking at us going, you know that you are one person among 7.7 billion on this planet. You know that this planet is what 9000 or 8000 miles in diameter. The nearest star to us is 93 million miles away. You know that you can fit 1 million earths inside the sun. That's how big it is. And that's the closest one of the small stars in the Milky Way galaxy that is 10,000 light years wide by a hundred thousand light years long. You know, the Milky Way Galaxy is one galaxy among a billion other galaxies? And God, the Bible says this, he measures it by his hand. That's why perspective matters. That's the God that we're coming to when we say, I need you. By the way, that's one reason why we need to learn the promises of God, because we bring them back to him. Let me give you a little life back here. When you're overwhelmed and in trouble, man, let the overwhelmingness of who God is overwhelm the overwhelming thing in your life. That's what he wants. They prayed with perspective. Number five, they prayed with balance. They prayed with balance. What does that mean? That means they just didn't come to God with this laundry list of requests before they recognized who he was. They didn't come to him in this whole petition time before adoring who he is. I want you to see something here.

The first five verses in their prayer. They never ask God anything. They just told him who He was, how awesome he was, and how big he is, and what he spoke into existence. And then in verse 29, after this level of respect, they say, God, we need you. That's the balance He's asking for. Isn't this how Jesus taught us how to pray? He didn't start with, Give us this day our daily bread. Right? He started. Hallowed be your name. Every player in the Bible starts the same way that God moves in. You'll see it. It's there. This is the balance, right? We adore God and we ask God. We lift God up and we ask God. We recognize who God is, we ask God. We submit to God, and then we ask God. Which piece are you missing? Which piece? Here's number six. They prayed specifically. They prayed specifically. One of the greatest things about this text is there is no vagueness. There’re no unspoken prayer requests in this one. It is, Lord, we need you. Look at verse 29. Now, Lord, look at the requests, consider their threats, and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Why they ask for boldness? Because that's the thing that we're scared of, something that they were arrested for, and they're going, God, you're going to have to give it to us. Verse 30. Stretch out your hand and to heal, to perform signs and wonders through your name of your holy servant Jesus. I mean, this is such a short, simple, to the point, trusting, cry for help. That's what God wants us to do. That's who He wants us to be. Do you realize that the more specific you are to God, the more specific he can answer your requests? The more general you are to God, we don't know if he's answering it because we're throwing out these little old scars, these little prayers that don't have any meat behind them. And God is going, Give me your heart. Show me what you need. Put your request before the all-powerful God. Be specific. And here's the last one. It's my favorite one. Their prayer got results. It got results. This is, after all, what God promises us, right? He hears our prayers. He answers our prayers. Look at verse 31. After they prayed the place where they were meeting was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God. How? Boldly. Boldly. This regular, instinctive, honest with perspective, specific prayer. Listen, it was answered by God.

First of all, it was answered by the whole place shaking. What was that about? That was just God going, Hey, I'm here. Yeah, I hear you. Here I am. Secondly, what did he do? He filled them. And third, what did he do? He moved them. That's the series. In boldness. We always focus on the shaking, but it's really the boldness that matters on the end. Man, this is amazing. You do realize that this prayer read out loud, at like a fifth grade reading level, is less than one minute long. One minute long. Matt, I just don't have time to pray. Hmm. One minute. One minute. No fluff, no church talk, no extra conversation. What did they do? They saw God for who he was, and they put their request before Him. That's powerful prayer. That's joyful prayer. Let's close with this.

Max Lucado says this. Our prayers may be awkward, our attempts may be feeble, but since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers make a difference. You know what I hope happens this morning? I hope that you see that you can be a person of prayer. It's not for the professionals. It's not for the learned. It's for the people who come before the king going, King, Jesus, I need you. I need you. I'm going to close a little bit different this morning. I want you to close your Bibles, close your apps, turn off your farm. It'll be okay till after lunch. Few of you got that. That was good. I want to show you that you can pray. So, I just want you to get into a posture of prayer just for a minute. However, you need to do that, bow your heads, close your eyes. Maybe you need to get in your seat and get up. Use your chair as an altar. Maybe you need to come and get some room, however you need to pray. I want you to get there for a minute.

We're going to close differently today, and I want to show you how you can pray an effective prayer today by walking through the Lord's Prayer. First thing I want you to do is listen to this. Jesus said our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Today, I just want you to lift up the name of God. I want you to tell him who He is. Tell him what he's done. Recognize who he has been in your life. Just tell him thanks for a second. We're going to do this quick. Just a couple of things that come to mind. Not to be all of them. It's okay. Hallowed. I'm lifting your name King Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come; your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I just want you to say, Lord, I am giving my will to you. God overshadow my will with your will, in my family, in my friends, in my workplace, in my finances, my attitudes. God, it is your will. Let your kingdom will come into my life. Your Kingdom come; your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Here's the next one. Give us this day our daily bread. I want you to present your request before the God who hears you, who wants to hear them. You're not burdening him. God's big enough to hear it. It's not going be too big for him. Put your request before the King. Give me what I need today God. Just get me through today. I'm trusting you. God, I need you to, you fill in the blank for your life.

Here's the next one. And God forgive us our debts as we have forgiven those who debited us. Why don't you ask God to forgive you? I don't know what the thing is. I don't want to know what it is, but it's probably something today. This week. Ask God to forgive you. Ask God to help you forgive someone else that has wronged you. Here's the last one, and God, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. And I just want you to ask God to set you on a path that runs from temptation and submits your heart to Him wholly. God, lead me, lead me. Lord Jesus, I recognize that in a room like this, this is, quite frankly, probably some of the most honest prayer time there may be in some people's lives. God may this model sink into their souls Lord Jesus.

But I also recognize there may be people in this room that have never given their heart to you Jesus. God may today their first prayer be this. Lord Jesus, come into my heart, save me, forgive me for my sins, and be my Lord. God, walk with us this week in powerful prayer. Lord Jesus, If someone has given their heart to you today, I pray as soon as I get done praying this prayer and dismiss us, they walk over here to the Next Steps banner, and they'll look at myself or one of these counselors and just say I gave my heart to Jesus today. And we can pray with them and walk with them. But God for the rest of us, God make us a people of prayer and God show up mightily in our lives. It's in your name. Amen. Amen.

Bless you guys. We'll see you next week.

Follow Along with the Message


Powerful Prayer

August 14, 2022

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
— Martin Luther

“It is possible to move men through God by prayer alone.”
— Hudson Taylor

“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.”
— E. M. Bounds

“To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.”
— Billy Graham

Philippians 4:6–7 (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Acts 2:42
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Keys to Powerful Prayer

1. They prayed .

Acts 1:14
They all joined together constantly in prayer…
Acts 1:24
Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen.
Acts 6:4
…and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.

QUESTION: Is prayer a part of your life or is it just for emergencies?

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

2. They prayed .

Acts 12:5
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

QUESTION: Why is the thing we should do usually the thing we think about doing?

Acts 4:23–31
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.’
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
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.

3. They prayed .

Psalm 6:6
I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping…
Psalm 22:1–2
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? 2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
Psalm 58:6
Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; Lord, tear out the fangs of those lions!

4. They prayed with .

Acts 4:24
When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.”

5. They prayed with .

6. They prayed .

Acts 4:29–30
29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

7. Their prayer got .

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.

“Our prayers may be awkward, our attempts may be feeble, but since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
— Max Lucado

Matthew 6:9–13
9 “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”

Additional Notes

 

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