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A Concentrated Prayer

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A CONCENTRATED PRAYER

ACTS 12:5

Introduction: Concentrated means to direct something toward a common objective or center. To gather all your resources in to one body. To focus. Here the early church demonstrated the power of concentrated prayer.  We have this same power with in us as believer when we concentrated our prayer unto God.  Prayer is a powerful gift from God.  It is that special and gracious gift that brings a believer into the very presence of God.  It is a delight to pray. It is a joy to pray. It is commanded that God’s people pray, for prayer is the answer to a multitude of problems that plague the body of Christ whether as individuals or as a collective group. Some situations in the church call for special emphases on prayer.  This is the case here in Acts 12. The church was being vexed (persecuted) by Herod. James the brother of John had been put to death by the sword.

 Because it pleased the Jewish leaders so much to kill James, Herod proceeded to take Simon Peter and put him in prison, chain between two guards with two standing watch outside the door.

But the church prayed, all on one accord, all for the same purpose. They prayed a concentrated prayer.

 

The key to understanding the concept of a concentrated prayer is found in the language of this text. The very words provide key insights into the true meaning of a concentrated prayer.  When we grasp the meaning of prayer in this context, we can rejoice in our prayer life, we can pray expecting to get a break through, we can pray knowing that God will hear and answer us.

“But prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him.”

[1]                “BUT…” A word of Contrast!  Something needed changing from the old to the new, and prayer was the only way to bring that change about. When danger comes upon the sheep the first reaction of the flock is to scatter, this would have been a normal reaction considering what had happen to the leader of the church. James had been put to death and now Peter was in jail. The shepherd is missing, the sheep are confused, but instead of scattering, they united in prayer. Around our churches today, we find people in bondage to drugs, alcohol, depression, fear; we find people truly hurting right here in the church. We could come together and pray for them, BUT.  We see our youth today being caught up and locked up, contemplating suicide we could become mentors to some of them, BUT.  Young folk being killed on a daily basic and something have to be changed from the old ways of the world and made new in Christ Jesus. The church was being persecuted and peter was in jail BUT prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.  It’s time to pray for our churches because the devil desires to keep each of us prisoner in one form or another.

               

Somebody may be depressed today BUT.

                Somebody may be confused today BUT.

Somebody may be on the verge of losing their job BUT.  I know things may look bad now, BUT.  The Lord is waiting to hear from us about every situation in our lives and he will answer.

[2]           “But PRAYER…” A word of Connection!  Prayer is our only method of making our request known to God.  We may worship God to honor him; we may sing praises to God to glorify him.  When we want a break through we got to pray.  When we want to hear from heaven we got to pray.  (Luke 18:1)  The bible says that man ought to always pray, for not only will the Lord hear, he will answer.  Isaiah said while we are yet speaking, he will answer.  The church did not realize that as they were praying the Lord was moving on their request. And he is waiting to move on our behalf if we would only humble ourselves, turn from our wick ways, seek his face and pray. 

                If you need deliverance today PRAY.

                If you need healing today PRAY.

                Jesus said and all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer believing you shall receive it.

                Anybody here need something from the Lord?

                God’s people are under attack, not from Afghanistan, but from principalities, from the ruler of the darkness of this world, from spiritual wick ness in high places

                If Satan has you bound and you can’t seem to break free, PRAY.

                For PRAYER is the key and FAITH unlocks the door.  The song writer said “I know what prayer can do, prayer has brought me through, I’m concerned about you, you ought to pray sometimes.  Anybody here know what prayer can do?

[3]           “But prayer WAS MADE…” A word of Covenant!  God’s people are called upon to join with brothers and sisters in Christ in a covenant of prayer.  If we are to bear one another’s burdens as the scripture tells us to, what better way then to pray for one another?  We have to stop being selfish in our prayer life…. Lord bless me! Lord help me!  Me, me, me.  When we gave our lives to the Lord we made a covenant with God and his people. On our end, prayer is the order of the day. And it shall come to pass, that before we call, God will answer; and while we are yet speaking he will hear us   God has promised he will hear and answer. When Jesus was on way to the cross, facing an agonizing death, knowing all that would be done to him.  How he would be whipped and beaten and spit upon and then nailed to the cross for our sins.  Before he prayed to God for himself he prayed for his disciples (john 17). What matchless love and compassion our savior had on that dark and lonely night.   If Jesus is our portion then we are to pray for one another.

                Lord I know I’m sick but look on my brother.

                Lord I know my kids are out of control, but look on my sister who is about to lose her job.

                Lord you know I need a blessing but bless my brother who has lost his wife. 

                Lord Herod has killed James with the sword and he want to kill us to, but look on Peter in that prison.

 

[4]           “But prayer was made WITHOUT CEASING…” A word of Continuation!   “ I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth, this poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his trouble.”  Earnest, sincerely continually prayer. Young Christians might find it hard to pray, and for those saints who have been praying for a long time, it may be a challenge to pray without ceasing. To pray without ceasing takes work, sweat and maybe even some tears, but we are to pray and not faint.  You may not get your break through today, but keep on praying.  We are to be like Jacob in our prayer life, the scripture tells us that Jacob wrestled with an angel of the Lord all night long; we have to have this same determination in our prayer life.  How long are you willing to pray? How long are you willing to wrestle in your prayer life?  When we set it in our hearts and have a made up mind, Lord I’m not going to stop praying until you bless me!!!!!!!!!. For when the righteous cry the Lord hears them and delivers them out of all their trouble!

When we read the gospel, we find Jesus praying.  When Jesus was in the garden, he did not pray to the father once, but three times the scripture tells us he prayed until sweat ran down like drops of blood. Jesus knew what was at stake when he prayed; Jesus knew what was at stake if he had not prayed. So he prayed without ceasing. There was a time when we would go to the club on Friday or Saturday night and dance all night long, sweat running off of us like water.  Sweat stains all in that new suit, dress so wet from sweating you had to put your coat on to keep from freezing.  Now we can’t stay on our knees in prayer for two minutes.  Our very eternal soul is at stake   Satan is like a hellhound on our track.  How long are you willing to pray?  We come to church and when the deacons get up for devotion first thing somebody say. I hope he don’t pray long. When Jesus came back from praying he found his disciple sleep.  “Could you not watch and pray with me one hour?”  Have we gone to sleep on God?  There are great benefits in continuining in pray. We can take a lesson from the poor widow in Luke 18:  the scripture says she was a widow who sought to be avenged of her adversary and she went to the judge with her request day and night.  This judge did not fear God or man, but because this widow came to him with ceasing he avenged her from her adversary at his own good pace.   The God I serve will avenge his chosen people who cry out to him day and night, God is not slow to answer, but when the Son of man comes will he find such faith on the earth?  You and I have an adversary called Satan, the devil, the tempter, and the deceiver.  But Jesus is our deliver, Jesus is our shelter in the time of storm, Jesus is our rock in a this weary land, he will hide us in the shadow of his might wings, but we got to call him, so we need to pray without ceasing.

Because storms will come in our lives, we need to pray without ceasing.

You may be well this minute and on you sick bed the next,

Because tomorrow is not promised to any of us sitting here right now, we need to pray without ceasing. 

Because our adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour we need to pray without ceasing.

Peter was in jail, “but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”

 

[5]           “But prayer was made without ceasing OF THE CHURCH…” A word of corporate ness!  If it’s cold outside and I put on one glove and not the other, it may keep that one hand warm, but if I put on both gloves it helps to warm the whole body.    If you stub your toe your hand feels it. If you get you hand slammed in a door, your foot feels it.  We are the body of Christ and when any part of the body hurts, the rest of the body feels it.  Individual prayer is good for the one praying.  Corporate prayer is good for the entire body of Christ. When we as a body of believers concentrate our prayers on one specific thing, for one specific purpose we will get a break through.  When the pastor asks the church to go into prayer, he means every believer, yea I know we often say, “they don’t need me, they won’t miss me.”  We have a saying in the marines, ‘we are only as strong as the weakest link.’  So it is with the body of Christ. You may be a prayer warrior; momma may be a prayer warrior. But when we pray as a church we are only as strong as the weakest saint.  Therefore we have to be on one accord and of one mind when we pray.

   For those of you who seek to be give your life to Christ and be saved If you don’t know how to pray, if you think that you are to sick in sin to pray, if you feel that you can’t get a pray through, the bible says to call on the elders of the church and let them pray over you anointing you with oil in the name of Jesus.  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, sick of drugs, sick of lying, and sick of being sick. The Lord shall raise you up and all your sins shall be forgiven.  We can take a lesson from the prophet Elijah.  Elijah was a praying man, the scripture says he prayed earnestly that it might not rain and it didn’t rain for 3 ½ years.  And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain and the earth brought forth her fruit. You see the effectual fervent pray of a righteous man availeth much.  If one man can pray a concentrated prayer unto the Lord and it don’t rain for 3 ½ years. How much more could the entire body of Christ accomplish through earnest prayer.  Walls of hate would come tumbling down, you would not hate me because of the color of my skin, and I would not hate you because you come from one side of town and me from another. Love would rule, and to God be the glorified.

                Everybody that prayed for peter may not have been in love with him, but if you are not going to pray for me don’t pray against me either.  For the day will come when you will need the church to pray for you. You may not like the brother but when the church prays for him you pray for him and if you “pray without ceasing unto God for him” you will come to love him.

[6]           “But prayer was made without ceasing of the church UNTO GOD…” A word of Credibility! You got to know who to pray to, yea I know momma can help you with some things when you call her.  Daddy may be able to come and unstop your sink when you call him.  But can he heal your body, can momma send you a financial blessing when she is just as broke as you are.  Can your sister who baby-sits for you heal that same child when the doctor walks away and shake his head? God desires that all men be sat free and saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  Buddha can’t help you, Allah is to no avail   but when we pray unto God through Christ Jesus in faith, we can count it done. For the scripture tells us that there is one God, and one mediator between God and men. That is Jesus The Christ!  In order to be able to pray unto God, you got to know something about him. 

Anybody here know anything about the Lord, has he ever healed your body?

Has he ever made a way out of no way?

I know momma told me what he did for her.

You may have heard a testimony about the goodness of God.

Have you every tried him for yourself?

David said “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”  When Elijah was facing the prophets of king Ahab on mount Carmel, he did not call on Buddha, or Muhammad, he did call on Zeus or mercury.  Elijah call on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Elijah call on the name of the living God.  The scripture says the Lord heard him and answered his prayer by fire from heaven.  What God do you call when you get in trouble?

When your cupboards are bear cry unto the Lord.

When trouble comes knocking at your door call on the Lord.

When friend walk away and you are friendless call on the Lord.

I know he will come and see about you. 

The songwriter said I love the lord he heard my cry, and pitied every groan. Long as I live and trouble rise, I will hasten to his throne.

We need to get in a hurry church time is winding up.

Peter was in jail, “but the prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”

 

[7]           “But prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God FOR HIM!” A word of Concentration! General prayers get general results. Specific, concentrated prayers focuses on the specific needs and in turn gets specific results.  When we need healing we don’t pray for food, when we need to be delivered from drugs and alcohol we don’t pray for a financial blessing.  We pray specifically for what we stand in need of.  For the scripture tell us that God will supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory.  Peter was in jail; chained between two guards asleep with two more standing watch out side of the door.  Peter was asleep tells me he was not worried about a thing, I believed peter prayed a concentrated pray for himself as well. Peter knew the Power of prayer for this was not the first time he had been in prison for the gospel (Acts 4&5). In each case it was the power of concentrated prayer that had been at work on his behalf, so he slept on.

 When you know the Lord things may be falling down around you but you can sleep on. When you know the Lord your family can talk about you but you can sleep on because you know that Jesus will come and see about you. So while peter slept, prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

There is power in prayer if we could talk to Paul and Silas, they would tell us yes we were cast into the deepest and darkest part of the prision for the gospel sake, but prayer brought us out.  Yes our feet were shacked, but prayer set us free. The bible says about midnight Paul and silas began to pray and sing praises unto God, the other prisoners heard them giving God the glory and they joined in.  All of a sudden their prayers became so concentrated until it shook the foundation of the prison.  Not only did Paul and Silas’s chain fall off but all the prisoners chains fell off When we call upon the name of Jesus, the chain of drug addiction fall off!  When we call upon the name of Jesus he will give us beauty for ashes. When we call upon the name of Jesus he will give us the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. That we might be called trees of righteousness the planting of the lord that he might be glorified!!!!!!  For Jesus came to set the captives free, to bind up the broken hearted, to open the prison to them that are bound, and to comfort them that mourn.  .  A concentrated prayer is like acid to what every has you bound.  For when the praises go up, the blessing will come down.  And body here want to be bless today?

 Peter was in prison, BUT PRAYER WAS MADE WITHOUT CEASING OF THE CHURCH UNTO GOD FOR HIM.  And as the church prayed an angel of the Lord came and smote peter and commanded him to rise up. The angel didn’t have a key in his hand, but the chains fell off, the angel didn’t have a key to put in the lock of the door but the door open wide.  The angel didn’t have a key to the gate but the gate seemed to open on it’s own.

  Peter thought he was dreaming, but when he came to himself, he was standing alone on the street.  I believe peter cried out I love the Lord he heard my cry. 

Is there anybody here today who feels chains by the burdens of life?

                Is there anybody here today who came to be set free?

                Satan may have you so tangled up you don’t know which end is up.

                But the bible says the prayer of the righteous availeth much.

                For when we concentrated our prayer, and call on the name of Jesus, he will answer.

                When we call on the name of Jesus, he will come and see about us.

                When we call on the name of Jesus, he will have mercy on us.

                There is healing in the name of Jesus.

There is power in the name of Jesus.

There is deliverance in the name of Jesus.

 

If you really want a break through, pray for somebody else!

Lord I’m really having it tough down here, but look on my brother!

Lord my husband has left me, but father look on my sister over there!

Lord I know I’ve done wrong and I need you to forgive me, but father have mercy on that young man on the corner. 

Father just look and have mercy!

 

MY STORY……………………………………………………………

Conclusion:          When prayer Breaks Through, it is the result of this kind of praying: 

                                Praying in faith.

                                Praying by the body of Christ.

                                Praying unto God through Jesus Christ.

                                Praying for a specific need.

May the Lord help his church to literally live in concentrated prayer!

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