Faithlife Sermons

The Church Prays Desperately

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Reminder…write down prayer requests…and I am going to talk fast today…
God won’t give you more than you can handle.
Is that true?
Now it is true that tells us that God will not let us be tempted with sin beyond what He will empower us to escape…and we know this because of the promise from Jesus that...
John 10:27–28 ESV
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
2
That is a glorious promise.
But does the mean God will not put before us any trial or situation or decision or calling that we can not handle?
But does the mean God will not put before us any trial or situation or decision or calling or risk that we can not personally handle?
Is it true to say that God will not give you more than you can handle?
Or is there a dangerous underlying false theology in that statement? That God will not give you more than YOU can handle.
Here's the danger. This statement assumes your greatest asset is...and your faith should be in...your own self and your ability. It is YOU centered…and not God centered theology.
We as people are wired by our sin nature and by our culture to prize and believe in and trust in our selves. 
The gospel tells us a dramatically different story. The truth of the gospel and the truth of creation and the truth of God's Word is that we cannot do anything of any value apart from God.
Jesus tells us this in ...
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John 15:5 ESV
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
So here’s the dangerous assumption: Our greatest asset is our own ability. We are prone—we have wired ourselves—to prize what we can accomplish when we believe and trust in ourselves. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is totally different. The gospel actually beckons us to die to ourselves, to crucify ourselves, to believe in God. We are called to trust, not in our own power, but in His power. In the gospel, God confronts us with our utter inability to accomplish anything of value apart from Him
Therefore everything is more than we can handle.
Everything is more than we can handle.
We were not meant to handle anything on our own…erase this thought from you mind…renew your mind today.
When you truly have given your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior…you have been called to die to your self, to crucify your self, to put your self to death.
To put to death your self reliance…self centered self esteem…your selfish desires…and your self wisdom...
We are a people who believe the promise that when we are weak...He is strong.
Or another way to say it...
When we have been given more than we can handle…or asked by God to do something we can not or do not want to do or do not believe we have the power to do…that is exactly where God wants us…because we are called to believe...in God…to trust God…to put our faith in Jesus…to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.
When God gives you more than you can handle.
OR for His body…the church…that is devoted to us…to do all the one another for one another.
When God gives you more than you can handle.
Church we are not to believe in our own power or abilities or what we can handle, but in His power and what He can handle. Isn’t that faith?
If we do not think this way...we will not lay down our lives, we will not speak the gospel in difficult or uncomfortable situations. Or to the people we love…or the people we do not like...
We will shy away from or be surprised by suffering. We will not take the risks that God is calling us to take…or go to the places God is calling us to go or give up the things God is calling us to give up…or take on the things He is calling us to take on...
Because we will tell our selves…God doesn’t want me to do that or go there or say that or talk to that person or take that risk or give up that thing or take in that person…or give Him my whole life…because that is more than I can handle.
So I ask you again…will God to give us more than we can handle?
So I ask you…will God to give us more than we can handle?
Did He give Noah more than he could handle? How about Abraham? Or Sarah? Or Joseph? Or David? Or Daniel? Or Moses? Or Esther? Or Shadrak Meshak and Abendigo? How about Job?
We read in ...
By faith…in reverent fear Noah constructed an ark.
Which church was more than he alone could handle.
By faith Abraham offered up Isaac…his own son.
By faith Moses left Egypt…by faith the people crossed the Red Sea. More than they could handle.
By faith Moses left Egypt…by faith the people crossed the Red Sea. More than they could handle.
Faith in what…that God would provide and God would give them the power and grace and mercy to do…way more than they could handle...
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Hebrews 11:32–39 ESV
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
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Faith in what…that God would provide and God would give them the power and grace and mercy to do…more thanthey themselves could handle...
Did Jesus ask of the disciples more than they could handle? Peter? Paul?
Did Jesus ask of the disciples more than they could handle? Bring this gospel to the ends of the earth you group of 12 uneducated, persecuted men with little power or influence.
Did Jesus ask of the disciples more than they could handle? Bring this gospel to the ends of the earth.
Or how about the example Jesus gives us…before going to the cross for us...He in agony said...
Luke 22:42 ESV
saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Or Father I need your strength if I am going to handle this thing…but if it is your will for me I will do it…why? How? Because I know Father you will strengthen me.
And there is something else we will not do if we believe and tell ourselves that God will not give us or call us to do more than we can handle…
We will not pray...as we should...
Our prayer life will be weak or self-centered or a struggle or inconsistent…because everything in our life is what we can handle…so why would we need to pray…big, desparate, bold prayers?
But what did Jesus do in that moment of agony...
John 15:5 ESV
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Luke 22:41 ESV
And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
Jesus was praying…and then...
Luke 22:43 ESV
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.
Luke 22:43–44 ESV
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
43
Everything we see out of the church and in the American church tells us you can do it. Be your self. Make much of yourself. The goal of the Gospel is much different. The God of the Bible puts men and women in situations where our inability is put on full display so he can demonstrate his power and his glory through us Do nothing without him.
five
This is what Jesus meant when He said in , “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Luke 22:43 ESV
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.
Strengthened Jesus...Jesus needed strength from the Father…from heaven above for this moment…
And what does he do....he prays…and prays some more.
Luke 22:44 ESV
And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
 Everything we see out of the church and in the American church tells us you can do it. Be your self. Make much of yourself. The goal of the Gospel is much different. The God of the Bible puts men and women in situations where our inability is put on full display so he can demonstrate his power and his glory through us Do nothing without him.
Everything we see in our culture and even out of much of the American church tells us...you can do it. Choose your journey. Be your self. Make much of yourself because you can handle this.
The truth of the Gospel is you can’t...our God puts His people…therefore us...men and women and youth...in situations where our inability is put on full display...so He can demonstrate his power and his glory and His love for us…and through us who know and live like we believe that we can do nothing without Him.
We can make much of ourselves. Everything shouts at us: “Make much of yourself!”
Everything we see out of the church and in the American church tells us you can do it. Be your self. Make much of yourself. The goal of the Gospel is much different. The God of the Bible puts men and women in situations where our inability is put on full display so he can demonstrate his power and his glory through us Do nothing without him.
But because of our faith in Him…we are willing to live differently…to take risks…to live outside of our selves…to not live for and like everyone else…but to live for the kingdom of heaven...
Because we know what it means to say that we believe that with Him all things are possible...
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Ephesians 2:7 ESV
so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
To do in us and for us and through us…more than we could ever do ourselves.
This is not only important when you think about yourself or your family…this is extremely important for the way we think about the church. If we are not careful we will start to think that our greatest asset is our own ability. We will begin to make much of ourselves. Will make much of our plans. Will make much of our abilities.
This is extremely important for the way we think about the church.
It easy and very common to define the success of a church in the same way our culture defines success.
But the goal of the gospel is totally different.
We need a great speaker and a great band and comfortable seats and attractive people and a trendy setting with the best programs and the best ministries for every age…then...if we do that we are being the church and then people will come and God will build His church. But think about what that way of thinking and church building is saying.
That it is our resources and our strategies and our abilities and our coolness that will accomplish God's mission. 
God actually delights in putting men and women in situations where our inability is put on full display, for then He demonstrates His ability to do things that we could never have done on our own—which makes much of Him.
Quickly the goal of the church will be to put on a good performance and bring other people like us to the church to be comfortable with us…doing church in a way that we could easily manufacture without God…doing what we can handle. What's missing from that picture?
God. Faith. The Gospel of the Kingdom. A live lived that says Jesus is everything and wothy of living for...
Complete devotion to and reliance on the Spirit…the power of God.
And therefore what else is likely missing…or is present...mostly unnecessary...
 Devotion, suffering, giving, spiritual battle, an enemy, conversion, born again, God . 
Desperate, bold, asking for more than we can handle or even fathom…prayer.
When I am weak…he is strong.
We could easily create a church where God's power is something we talk about rather than something we experience. Or desire…or need...
 We are not careful we'll create a church culture or God's power is something we talk about rather than something we experience. We could create a system that means Google or any help from the power of God. We could carry out most of her activities every Sunday and every Wednesday successfully in our own eyes and virtually ignore the power of God. 
But what if the church is supposed to be completely dependent on the power of God…because the mission and plan and purpose of God for the church is more than we can handle.
This is so important for the way we think about our lives and our families; this is so important for the way we think about the church.
What if the greatest risk is not taking risk for God but living comfortably outside of His will?
But what if the church is supposed to completely dependent on the power of God…because the mission and plan and purpose of God for the church is more than we can handle.
What if we are called to do the impossible…what if miracles are not only to be expected…but are necessary…yes I said necessary...
If we as the church are not careful, we can actually embrace this same assumption—that our greatest asset is our own ability. We can achieve this same goal. We can make much of ourselves. Just think about how we can so easily define success in the church today. We aim to put together great performance every week with a great speaker and a great band and a great place that’s comfortable and attractive, surrounded with top-notch programs run by ministry professionals for every age and stage.
Because the mission of the church is to raise the dead to life. Bring sight to the blind. To speak the gospel to the lost, lonely, deceived, and confused…to go to hard places and say hard things because we are in a battle for peoples souls...
In our family and our community....to our neighbors and enemies…and for some of us to the other side of the globe…into dangerous places.
What if the Christian is the one that lives not for self…but in such devotion to Jesus...that any “risk” God would ask us to take is seen as an opportunity for faith…and joy…and for showing His worth and His glory.
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What if the point of life is to glorify God by enjoying Him and trusting Him…no matter what.
Psalm 63:3 ESV
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
What if we looked at this world and our lives with an eternal, kingdom mindset…and therefore lived in a way that every day, no matter where God had us...we would gladly put ourselves in situations and conversations where we had to completely rely on Jesus…by God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
What if the Christian is the one that lives in such devotion to God that any “risk” God would ask us to take is seen as an opportunity for faith…and joy…and for showing His worth and glory.
What if we lived in a way that every day we were in situations and conversations where we had to completely rely on God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Isn’t that what you see in your Bible…isn’t that why God has given us the gift of prayer? Isn’t that why the great commision ends with a promise.
Matthew 28:20 ESV
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
MAtt 28-20
The very mission of the church is more than we can handle.
I can promise you this…if we as a church live...that trusting in and reliant upon God…we are going to need prayer.
The very mission of the church is to do something more than we can handle.
That is why the great commision ends with a promise.
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Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I can promise you this…if we as a church live...that trusting in and reliant upon God…we are going to need prayer.
Matthew 28:20 ESV
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
matt 28
What if we are called to live in a way that commonly puts us in situations where we need God desparately...
I can promise you this…if we as a church live that trushing in and reliant upon the Holy Spirit of God…we are going to need prayer.
Desperate prayer…bold prayer…confident prayer…rejoicing prayer…suffering prayer…shouting for joy prayer…crying in tears prayer...
Prayer while standing on our feet with our hands in the air…and prayer on our knees with our faces on the ground.
Lots and lots and lots of prayer…maybe even prayer without ceasing.
Because we will need God…because it will be more than we can handle.
Let’s open to Acts 1.
Our series on the church is coming to an end in August. We spent some time in and 2 early on...primarily when talking about how the church is devoted.
Devoted to God. Devoted to Jesus Christ. And in that devotion…completely devoted to one another.
It begins to feel like we’ve convinced ourselves that if we can just position our resources and organize our strategies, then just like everything else in life, we in the church can accomplish anything on which we set our minds.
This morning we're going to look at how the church when living with true devotion and on mission...will be driven continually into deep honest desperate believing bold prayer. 
And how God will show us His power in ways we can not even fathom…when we pray like that…because we will need Him to.
I wonder how we would write in 2018...
The disciples are now without Jesus…He is in heaven on the throne and they are in the upper room…about to go be the church...
So we might expect them to be talking about how they need a good speaker, and a good musician, and some musical instruments or a youth pastor and a what programs they should purchase....and how they can look more cool and relevent...
We would probably have a planning meeting in the upper room and talk about how we need a good speaker, and a good musician, and some musical instruments or youth pastor and a what programs awe should purchase....and then once we had all that we would go out and build the church.
Then once they had all that they would go out and build the church.
But what do we find in . A common, rural, low class, uneducated, unimpressive group of people who believe in Jesus and the power of the Spirit that He had promised. People devoted to one another and willing to give everything for the mission Jesus has given us...to glorify God by bringing the gospel to the ends of the earth…to save souls from hell…starting right outside the doors of the upper room.
A people who have been asked by the Lord of creation to do something that is impossible for them to do or handle or accomplish on their own power or by their own ability. 
Which may be true if our goal is to put on good performances and bring in people to like us and go to our church…
And what do we find them doing?
They are not first strategizing about what planting model or programs to use...
They have not recruited David Crowder or . 
Acts 1:14 ESV
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Acts 114
What’s totally missing in that picture of performances, personalities, places, programs and professionals is desperation for the power of God.
They are praying. And praying…and praying…and praying…for God to send his power. Because this feels like more than they can handle.
They are praying. In response of God to these people devoted to one another and devoted to him in prayer and in their love for one another God's response to their prayer is to send his power. Since we have read through this church preaching this multiple times you know what happens in ex two. Turn to ask to one. They're praying. You could ask to verse one.
They know Jesus had promised that it was better for them that He was in heaven…that they would do greater things by the Spirit...
Are praying…and praying…and praying…for God to send his power.
If we’re not careful, we can create—and we have created—a whole church culture where God’s power is at best an add-on to the church. If we’re really honest, we’d have to admit that we have created a whole system for doing church today that needs little if any help at all from the power of God. We can carry on most if not all our activities every Sunday smoothly, efficiently, successfully—at least in our eyes—never realizing that we are virtually ignoring the power of God. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
And so they prayed...
We have read through this as a church and I have preached on multiple times…but look what happens after they pray?
Acts 2:1–4 ESV
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:1-
So they are praying and the sound of a powerful wind enters the room…something is happening. Verse 3...tongues as a fire appeared to them and rested upon them. Tongues of fire. That's kind of weird.
To the praying the sound of wind but not wind comes upon them. Something is happening. There is the sound around them. Verse three divided tongues as a fire appeared to them and rested upon them. Tongues of fire. That's kind of weird. We respond if this started happening. What without. Would you be scared. We think it was weird.
How would we respond if this started happening?
This is why we’re in today, because here we see a totally different picture. Here’s a fledgling group of believers, scared to death, in a small upper room. They’re rural, uneducated, lower class, common Galileans. And what are they doing?
Then they are speaking all different languages...
 Asked to 14. So we are a very multicultural church. But what if we all started speaking gospel different languages right now. We might react like the crowd around them reacted. 
So we are a pretty multicultural church. But what if we all started speaking gospel in different languages right now. Languages we did not previously know.
How would we react? How would Fall creek react?
They’re not plotting strategies or discussing models or making plans. They are not recruiting David Crowder or some good looking speaker who looks like an instragram model in hipster pants to be the lead pastor…
Probably like the crowd around them reacted. 
Acts 2:13 ESV
But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
They are weird…they are crazy…they must be drunk.
Verse 13 they're filled with
What is going on here is a group of uneducated, untrained, common…previously not very bold people...who seem to have no real previous connection to one another...are now completely unified and devoted to one another and completely devoted to Jesus and filled with the Spirit.
They are unashamed and not quenching the Spirit.
…“All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer.” Underline that verse in your Bible. They were praying. And in response to their prayers, God sent His power.
.
So what is the assumption...They must be drunk.
 What is going on here is uneducated untrained common people who seem to have no real connection to one another, completely devoted to one another and completely devoted to this Jesus. They must be drunk .
Listen to what happened in ’m guessing some of you, maybe many of you, have read this story of Pentecost before, but picture this like it’s the first time you’ve ever heard it. Just imagine this scene, starting in . They’re praying. “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” So imagine right now that we’re praying and all of a sudden there’s the sound of wind, but it’s not the wind, because our hair is not being blown around. Picture what a hurricane sounds like, what a tornado sounds like. Here’s that sound in this room right now. Then with that sound all around, verse three says, “Divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.” Okay, picture that—tongues of fire. What comes to your mind when you picture a fire tongue? This is odd. Look at the person next to you and picture a fire tongue on top of them. What are you doing? How do you respond when the dude next to you has a fire tongue resting on him? Then he says, “You’ve got one too.” This is a crazy scene! Hurricane-like sound. Fire tongues on everybody. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues [other languages] as the Spirit gave them utterance” (). Actually, that scene is not too hard to imagine in our church.
If at this point we were to apply what we would call success in the American church to this early church…not such a good start.
So if at this point we were to apply what we would call success in the American church to this early church…not such a good start.
We’ve got all kinds of different languages.
Not many church planting seminars would say this should be the first impression of a new church plant.
We want to look polished. Like we know what we're doing. We got this thing down. We are not going for a google review that says…those looney toons are out of their minds and seem like they were drunk at 10 am on a Sunday...
We want to look polished. We know what we're doing. We got this thing down. We are not going for a google review that says…those looney toons are out of their minds and seem like they were drunk at 10 am...
But that is how God builds His church here in Acts...
But that is how God builds His church here in Acts...
That's not the way God had a plan. Peter stands up now to preach the sermon he teaches at the gospel. 
But imagine that we didn’t when we came in here today, then all of a sudden, with fire tongues and hurricane sounds, we’re all speaking in different languages. This is an awesome scene. Verse five: “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.” Of course this was drawing a crowd. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Then right after that…Peter stands up to preach the first sermon and he preaches the gospel. 
Remember this the same Peter who not too long before this was denying Jesus...afraid to say he even knew Jesus...over and over and over again…is now standing under the power of the Spirit relying on the power of God…having just prayed desperately and in unity with his church...
He now has one goal...one mission.
What in the world? Uneducated commoners are speaking the gospel in all kinds of different languages. The crowds think they’re drunk.
Glorify Jesus...
He no longer cares that these thousands of people's before him think he is crazy and drunk or weird or uncool…and many don’t like him or hate him or want to kill him. He is going to tell them the gospel…the full gospel…because he believes they need it…they desperately need Jesus.
So he preaches it....and you get to .
So he preaches it....and you get to .
And thousands of people (who remember had just thought the disciples were weird and drunk)...thousands and thousands of them are convicted of sin…and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
you have a few hundred believers praying and then filled with the Spirit…by you have thousands and thousands…not just doubled…exponential growth.
No programs. No budget. No church training.
The gospel…the word of God. Boldness to speak the gospel. Unity and devotion to one another. Eternal kingdom thinking...Obedience to whatever God would tell them to do. Citizens not of this world but of heaven.
Unashamed…all in…arm in arm…anything and everything for Jesus...
Filled with the Spirit…and how did it start.
That’s not what you would normally plan.
Faithful, desperate, unified prayer. 
And so now there are thousands of believers filled with the Spirit…and what is the very next thing they do...
Acts 2:42 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Devotion…together…teaching…fellowship…communion…and more prayer!
So it started with prayer and now they are devoting themselves to prayer. Are you seeing a fundamental pattern in the church?
We see this over and over in Acts.
So Peter stands up to preach that sermon—he preaches the gospel. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not innate ability. This is the same guy who just weeks before denied Jesus, who was afraid to even say he knew Jesus, over and over and over again. Now he’s standing under the power of God in front of thousands of people, proclaiming Jesus. says over 3,000 people put their faith in Christ. Talk about church growth! started with 120 believers. , in a brief moment, adds more than 3,000. You do the math. That’s 2,500% growth? Just like that.
Acts 4:13 ESV
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
 This is the pattern over and over in acts. Devotion, commitment to God's word, boldness, Giuseppe, prayer.
No programs…no budget…the word of God, boldness to speak the gospel..unity of believers…unashamed…and prayer.
Who gets the glory for their boldness? Jesus.
Ask for 13 who gets the credit? Jesus. They begin to be persecuted you get to ask for 23 Lampron.
And therefore just like Jesus they begin to be persecuted and threatened…and so what do you guess they do about that? They pray.
Then what does it say right after that? : “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Listen to how they pray...
Acts 4:24 ESV
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,
Acts 4:24–30 ESV
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:24–29 ESV
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,
And the end like this...
Acts 4:24
Acts 4:28–30 ESV
to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
acts 4 29
God this is more than we can handle…but we know it is all by your hand and predestined plan…so make us bold…to speak the Gospel and God we need you to do miracles.
Recap the prayer...
 29 look at the end of their prayer. So they finish playing they ask for the boldness to continue to be the word be devoted to the word and devoted to one another and look what happens to pray for signs and wonders and healing in the name of Jesus.
And what do you supposed happens next?
And what do you supposed happens next?
They devoted themselves to prayer. Underline it again in your Bibles. It’s the second time that phrase has been used, “They devoted themselves to prayer.” Then the story keeps going.
Acts 4:31 ESV
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Verse 31 
Can you imagine…suppose we are desperately united in prayer…asking our sovereign God do move among us and give us boldness to speak…to do more than we can handle…and the auditorium starts to shake.
In , Peter and John speak the name of Jesus, and a 40-year-old man, crippled from birth, stands up to walk for the first time. Not just walk. Look at verse eight: “And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” He’s jumping up and down, everywhere. This guy has been unable to walk for 40 years. Now he’s not just walking—he’s jumping everywhere, praising God. The people are amazed. Listen to their conclusion in : “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Did you hear that? The crowds aren’t thinking of Peter and John’s innate ability. They’re thinking, “This is supernatural power at work.”
 Can you imagine world together praying for United in the auditorium starts to shake. That would either bring y'all and a bunch other people back next week or in America 2018 might mean nobody shows up next week. Let's be real this is super weird and super powerful.
In Acts chapters 5 and 6…more signs and wonders and healings are happening. Evil spirits and demons are being cast out. And the enemy brings distraction to the church elders. The enemy sees the power of what's happening and brings all this distraction and strife and confusion and arguing and questioning and accusing to the church. Trying to break up their unity and devotion...And the elders say this is what needs to be done...
In Acts chapters 5 and 6...signs and wonders and healings are happening. Evil spirits and demons are being cast out. And the enemy brings distraction to the church elders. The enemy sees the power of what's happening and brings all this distraction and strife and confusion and arguing. Trying to break up their unity and devotion...And the elders say what needs to be done...
Who’s getting the credit here? Not Peter and John.
Acts 6:4 ESV
But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Devoted to the word and prayer. Devoted…seems simple right?
And what happens next...
Devoted to the word and prayer . And what happens next
Acts 6:7 ESV
And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Jesus is getting the credit! Then they start to experience persecution. What do they do? Look at : “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God.” They start praying.
So devoted to the Word and more prayer...
Tord continues to increase in the number of disciples are multiplied greatly.
The gospel continues to spread and the number of disciples are multiplied greatly…religious old covenant priests are even being converted to Christ.
Jump down to verse 29, to the end of their prayer: “Now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” They finish praying, and then listen to what happens. Verse 31: “When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” Can you imagine, if we started to pray, and all of a sudden this building would start to shake? That will bring a crowd back next week—or maybe actually in America in 2018 drive a crowd away. “It’s not safe to go to that church. The building’s foundations are not stable when they start talking to God.” They are super weird… It keeps going.
And don’t forget what this means…the church after praying...was boldly and unashamedly telling these people in Jerusalem…even priests…the true gospel.
So I ask the question...How do you grow a church? Or more importantly...how do you bring new and unexpected people and deceived people to saving faith…to salvation in Jesus Christ and into the true body of Christ?
By being devoted to Him…to each other…to the teaching of the Word and…boldly speaking the gospel…and therefore…because it will be greatly needed…to...
Look at . The apostles are performing many signs and wonders among the people. The sick are being healed of their diseases. Evil spirits are being cast out. In chapter six, they start being distracted by various things, but look at verse four. They say, “We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Underline that—this is the third time we’ve seen this phrase, “We must devote ourselves to prayer.” Listen to what happens right after that, in verse seven: “The word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.” Yes! That’s what we’re talking about all the time—how do we multiply disciples? It’s happening here as they devote themselves to prayer.
Bold…desperate…unceasing prayer…asking God to do among us and through us and in us more than we can even fathom…way more than we can handle without him.
This pattern keeps going throughout the book of Acts.
Then right after that, see this picture of Stephen in : “Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.” Go to verse ten where he speaks to these rulers. Listen to how the Bible says they respond: “They could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.” Stephen speaks boldly throughout , then he’s stone for it. But what happens next? In we read, “Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Jump down to verse four. What were they doing when they were scattered? “Those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” In other words, the gospel keeps spreading. Even stoning can’t stop it. The gospel spreads throughout Judea and Samaria. Then in chapter eight, Philip gets zapped by the Holy Spirit from one place to another to lead an Ethiopean to Christ. In , Saul, the most ardent persecutor of Christians—picture terrorists killing Christians—becomes a follower of Christ. In , as Peter and Cornelius are both praying in different places, racial and ethnic barriers to the spread of the gospel come crashing down. In , the church in Antioch is founded as the base of missions to the world. Then you get to . James is beheaded. Peter’s in prison, but listen to verse five: “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” They are praying earnestly and what happens? We need to read this story to see what happens when the church prays. Verse six: “Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison.” Don’t you love this? Peter is about to lose his life, for all he knows, the next day—and what is he doing? He’s sleeping. He’s not devising a jail break. He’s not working with Chuck Norris on a plan to break out. See the peace of God in the middle of prison. It gets interesting here. Verse seven: “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his hands.”
Let me give one more example that will lead into what I want to say to us...the church.
They are gathered together again in and we get this...
Acts 13:1–3 ESV
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 13:2–3 ESV
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
I want you to think about this. This was about 2000 years ago in a little prayer meeting. They are worshiping…someone hears from the Spirit…and does not quench the Spirit…and through prophecy they are told to send these men (Paul and Barnabas) off...
acts 13 verses one through three 
I want you to think about this. This was about 2000 years ago in a little prayer meeting. They are woshipping…someone hears from the Spirit…and through prophecy they are told to send these men off...
Picture this. An angel shows up, a bright light is shining in the cell, and what does Peter do? The dude’s still asleep; still snoring. So the angel strikes him on the side. “Get up!” Verse eight: the angel says, “‘Dress yourself and put on your sandals.’ And he did so. And he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’” We don’t want Peter going naked into the streets. 9 And he went out and followed him. 11 He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. Then verse 11 says, “When Peter came to himself...” I love that. This is what we love about Peter—he is so slow, like we are. He’s been woken up by an angel! First the light, then a knock in the side; he’s told to put on his clothes; the gates have opened up for him and he’s let outside past numerous guards. Now he’s walking on the street in freedom, then Peter came to himself. He said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” Wait. It gets better. He goes to the church, verse 12: “When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.”
 Want you to think about this. I was about 2000 years ago that little prayer meeting. They send these two men off to be missionaries to the unreached. And they prayed for them that they would bear witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and they know that Jesus sent them to minister and bring the gospel to the ends of the earth to every country in the world. and we now live in a time when many are saying that that may seem happen. The mission of Jesus the thing he says will happen before he returned the spreading of the gospel to the ends of the earth may happen in our lifetimes. We are standing or sitting in Fall Creek Wisconsin on the other side of the world and ocean away 2000 years away 2000 years after the prayer meeting in the sending off of these men. Powerful things happen when the church prays. I hope you believe that. I hope you're seeing this in the life of our little church early church. Here's my question for you.
They send these two men off to be missionaries to the unreached.
And how…through fasting and prayer.
They prayed for them that they would bear witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring the gospel to the ends of the earth.
The spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth…missionaries to the unreached...and take note…we are in Fall Creek Wisconsin on the other side of the world…an ocean and 2000 years away from this prayer meeting and the sending off of these men.
The spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth....and take note…we are standing or sitting in Fall Creek Wisconsin on the other side of the world…an ocean away and 2000 years away from this prayer meeting and the sending off of these men.
Powerful things happen when a devoted faithful desperate church prays. I hope you believe that. I hope you're seeing this in the life of our little church. Here's my question for us?
Don't want to be a part of something like this…this powerful? Don't you want to continue to see God do things that can only be done if God did them?
Remember, they were praying earnestly for him. “And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.” You’ve got to love Rhoda. Put yourself in Peter’s shoes. You now realize that you’re an escaped prisoner, so you run to this house before anybody sees you. You’re looking everywhere over your shoulder to make sure nobody sees you. You finally get to the house, start knocking frantically, and Rhoda comes to the door, asking, “Who is it?” “It’s Peter,” he says. “Let me in quick.” But she’s so excited, she leaves him standing at the door. She goes inside and tells everybody, “Peter’s out of prison!” Listen to what they say in verse 15: “They said to her, ‘You are out of your mind.’” Imagine that conversation. “Be quiet, Rhoda. We’re praying for Peter.” She starts to speak again, but they say, “You’re interrupting our prayers. We want him out of prison.” She says, “I’m trying to tell you.” “Be quiet!” “But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, ‘It is his angel!’”
More hurting people saved and given hope by the Gospel. The sleepy and lukewarm awakened. The wind and fire of the Spirit…more miracles…and more healings. Don't you want to see more of the greater things promised to us. More people turning to Jesus. Don’t you want to be more bold and set apart for Christ?
Don't you look at this picture of the church in the Bible and compare it to most of the church today and think somethings not adding up here. Much of what we call church could easily be manufactured by our own abilities. 
Don't you want to continue to see the power of God at work in your life and your family and your workplace and in this church and in this community...in this region and around the world.
Meanwhile, the escaped prisoner is still standing outside. Verse 16: “But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.” Ha! Maybe Rhoda was right. “But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, ‘Tell these things to James and to the brothers.’ Then he departed and went to another place.” What a great story. Jail break as evidence of the power of God in what? In prayer. That leads us to where, guess what the church is doing. They’re praying.
I can tell you how that can and will happen.
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Acts 6:4 ESV
But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
In unity and devotion...We must ask God, beg of God, plead with God, to give us more than we can handle so we can throw aside all dependence upon ourselves. Our abilities.
We must ask God, beg of God, plead with God, to give us more than we can handle so we can throw aside all dependence upon ourselves. Our abilities. That we would not do anything as the church that would make much of us in our lives and our families or as a church. That we would live in a way that we would need to rely desperately upon the power of God...the Spirit of God so that we will live for the glory of God.
That our sovereign and Holy God would…like in …would grant us the power to continue to speak the word with all boldness...
God gives us more than we can handle so by faith we can see him do more than we can imagine.
I can tell you how that can happen. We must ask God, beg of God, plead with God, to give us more than we can handle so we can throw aside all dependence upon ourselves. Our abilities. That we would not do anything as the church that would make much of us in our lives and our families or as a church. That we would live in a way that we would need to rely desperately upon the power of God...the Spirit of God so that we will live for the glory of God.
That we would live in a way that we would need to rely desperately upon the power of God...the Spirit of God so that we will live for the glory of God.
We must live and desire to see and be iand do n a way that would force us to rely desperately on God through prayer.
It start with and is driven by faithful prayer…that God would give us more than we can handle so we can see him do more than we can imagine.
That is why we pray...
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. We just read about a worship/prayer/fasting meeting that ignited a missions movement that in the days to come would make Christianity the dominant religion of the entire Roman Empire within two-anda-half short centuries.
We can be the smallest...least talented...least influential people with the least amount of money and the least amount of resources...
We can do nothing without the power of God. It does not matter how big or small talented or influential we are. It doesn't matter how many more or less people are part of this church body. It does not matter how much money we have. Does not matter how many resources we possess. None of those things are worth anything without the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Nothing we do without that kind of faith is worth anything for the glory of God in this world. We can be the smallest least talented least gifted least influential people with the least amount of money in the least amount of resources and with the power of the Holy Spirit we could shake this nation glory of God. He read the Bible we know this is true we see how God works . Do we believe this.
And with the power of the Holy Spirit we could shake this nation glory of God.
We read the Bible so we know this is true...we see how our God works. Do we believe this?
Church we read the Bible so we know this is true...we see how our God works. Do we believe this?
Then 2,000 years after that prayer meeting, over a billion Christians today bear witness to Christ, in almost every country in the world. Mark it down. Powerful things happen when the church prays! Are you seeing this?
Do we believe that God could accomplish more through us by the power of the Holy Spirit in the next five minutes than all of the humans in the world could accomplish by their own power in the next 10,000 years?
The more dependent we are upon God 's power to do more than we could even ask...the more we will pray…because we will need to.
The church is a radically, different and dependent people who plead with God through prayer…because we know we have been called to do what we do not have the ability to do…so we are desperate for His power and His presence and His love to overcome us...by His Spirit.
We could go on and on for 15 more chapters, as Paul and others are preaching the gospel and people are being saved and healed of diseases. Demons are being cast out of them. People are even rising from the dead.
Just like last week was about worship we spent extra time in worship after the message. We are going to spend some time today in prayer. Let's humble ourselves and ask God to encourage us…and show his presence to us…and to do things through us that bring Him much glory.
Program to overestimate our own abilities . We are prone to look in the mirror or read self-help books to try to conjure up the ability to do things on our own. But even more so we are prone to underestimate the wonder and awesomeness and power of God. Instagram everything we been part RCU. This desperation is what will lead to faithful and righteous prayer because prayer is us bringing to God our inability to do what God is called us to do and to plead with him to give us the power to do it. Why do we pray. When do we pray. When we need God we need to help us. 
Don’t you just want to be part of a story like this? Don’t you sometimes look at this picture of the church in the Bible, then look around the church today and think, “Something’s not adding up here. We’ve got the performance and the personalities and the places and the programs. We’ve got what we, in our innate abilities, can manufacture. Yet in the end, something is missing, isn’t it?”
So we don’t pray as we should...
 What if that is how we lived in our lives and our families as a church. What if we were living in a way that we constantly and desperately needed God to intervene. We can't live this way we can't do this marriage and parenting and job and career thing. God we can't love and serve the way you call us to. We cannot build a church. But you can. We can't do anything without your power God. So we need you God pleading with you desperately in prayer. 
Don’t you want to see the power of God at work like this in your life, in your family, in this church, in this city, around the world? If we truly long for more than status quo, run-of-the-mill, mundane Christianity, then I want to submit today that we must throw aside all dependence on our innate ability. We must throw aside any desire to make much of ourselves—in our lives, in our families, and as a church.
Prayer is not supplemental. We should not be living in a way we have to think about what we need to pray about.
 Prayer is not supplemental. We should not be living in a way we have to think about what we need to pray about.
In a sense, these are two challenges for our lives, our families and our church. Let’s pray for that which can only be accomplished by the power of God. Isn’t that what we see here in the book of Acts? These early Christians were not trusting in their own abilities. They were scared to death in that upper room in . That was the key. They knew they couldn’t follow Christ, they couldn’t glorify Christ, they couldn’t make disciples of Christ as a church, on their own. We’ve got to know the same thing. Think about our missions, what we talked about the first of this year, what we’ve seen in God’s Word. We want to glorify God by making disciples and multiplying the church among all nations, beginning right here. But we can’t do any of that apart from the power of God. We would be fooling ourselves to think otherwise.
Why do we pray?
It doesn’t matter how big this church is— how talented, gifted or influential the members of this church might be. It doesn’t matter how many people are from any number of nations or any city. It doesn’t matter how much money this church has. It doesn’t matter how many resources we possess, Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit of God, we will do nothing in the world for the glory of God. In fact, the exact opposite is true. This church could be extremely small, with the least talented, least gifted, least influential people, with the least amount of money and resources, yet under the power of the Holy Spirit can shake the nations for the glory of God. If you read your Bible and see how God works…you might even guess that He would do it that way.
We pray before bed and before meals and at the beginning of our services innocent and good and right and proper. In the middle of a meal. Or in the middle of our church service. Anytime I bring someone to your heart. Or when discussing a decision. When you get a phone call from someone in need. When you see a homeless man on the side of the road. A prayer of thanksgiving before having ice cream cone. 
To praise God. To give Him thanks. To get to know him better. Because we love him.
Do we believe this? Really, do we believe that we can accomplish more in the next month in the power of the Holy Spirit than we could in the next hundred years apart from His power? Or do you believe you can do more in the next week in dependence on God’s Spirit than you can in your entire lifetime in dependence on yourself? This is a totally different way to think.
 Why do we pray ? Praise God. To give him thanks. To get to know him better. Because we love him. And because we need him desperately. We need him to help us. Therefore carelessness is pride. If we're not praying or we say I have nothing to pray for have nothing to bring for God or saying we can do this without you. I don't need you in that part of my life. 
And because we need him desperately. We need him to help us.
 I wonder if that next thing that we feel God has bringing to us the church. I've heard multiple of you say you like somethings about to happen. Or how about the spread of the Gospel in this community. Or how about the spread of the gospel to your family member is unsaved. How about whatever it is you're wondering about or need to happen in your life. I wonder if this thing holding that back from happening is a black of prayer.
We have no clue about the depth of our inability and the wonder of God’s ability. We have been fooled into thinking that our greatest asset is our strengths. No, our greatest asset is our weaknesses, because that’s when we are most dependent on the strength of God. That is a totally different way to think, isn’t it? It goes totally against the grain of everything around us. And this kind of thinking is the crux of prayer, because prayer is the intersection between our inability and God’s ability. Think about it. Why do we pray? We pray because we need help.
Just like last week was about worship we spent extra time in worship after the message. We are going to spend some time in prayer. Let's humble ourselves and begin to bring humble hearts and ask God to bring things to our heart and mind to lift them in prayer. Things that only He can accomplish in our lives and our families in our church and in this community.
Is it the spread of the Gospel in this community. Or how about the spread of the gospel to your family member who is unsaved.
How about whatever it is you're wondering about or need to happen in your life. I wonder if this thing holding that back from happening is a black of prayer.
 Just like last week was about worship we spent extra time in worship after the message. We are going to spend some time in prayer. Let's humble ourselves and begin to bring humble hearts and ask God to bring things to our heart and mind to lift them in prayer. Things that he can accomplish in our lives and our families in our church and in this community. And I want to pray boldly together for things that only can be accomplished by the power of God. To give God glory. And I want to pray that God add to our number those who are being saved.
Let us pray boldly together for things that only can be accomplished by the power of God…that we would live lives that show His worth…that His love is better than life…that
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The question I want to ask is what if we lived like that all the time? In our lives, in our families, as a church—what if we lived in such a way that we were constantly and desperately in need of divine intervention, constantly saying, “God, I can’t carry out my life. I can’t carry out my marriage. I can’t carry out my parenting, my job, my career. I can’t love and serve. I can’t walk through day-to-day life without divine intervention.” That is the Christian life; that is the Christian church. We can’t do anything apart from the power of God. You say, “It sounds like you’re very weak. That’s such a weak thing to say.” The world would say, “That’s just weakness,” and we would say, “Yes!” The only reason we would say otherwise is if we had a very deluded view of ourselves, compared to the power of God. Why would we want to do anything in our lives apart from the power of God and the help of God? Here’s the problem.
Philippians 3:8 ESV
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
I have 2 quick applications before we pray...
I have 2 quick applications before we pray...
All too often prayer in our lives, in our families and in the church is not fundamental to what we do. It’s more supplemental to what we do. In our lives, in our families, we pray here and there, before meals, maybe before bed. We spend hours throughout the day doing so many different things—hours in front of our phones, watching TV, running from here to there in all kinds of activity—yet we spend very little time alone with God in prayer. We spend so many hours doing so many things with our spouse, with our kids—yet minutes, if not seconds, with them in prayer. What are we thinking? Then it transfers over into the church, where we often pray almost as a matter of routine—at the beginning or end of a meeting, here or there during the service, kind of on the side, even as a transition, “God help us.” We’re prone in a setting like this for somebody on stage to say, “Let’s pray.”
Who grows the church? Not me. Not Peter back then. Not you. God does. Isn't that what you want to see. A church that is doing only what God could do. Now we could do on our own. 
Don't we want to see God do what will give Him glory and cannot be attributed to us? 
So we all bow our heads, and then in a matter of seconds, our minds are going in all different directions. We’re not even thinking about Who we’re talking to, about Who’s listening to us, about the all-powerful King of the universe, the God Whose glory and beauty and radiance and holiness outshine our wildest imagination. How do we so easily miss it? How do we get so casual with prayer, to the point where it plays such a small part—a supplemental part—in our lives, our families and the church? Why are we so often a prayerless people? I’m convinced the answer is simple.
 Isn't that what we want to be a part of? Don't we want to be a part of what God is doing and not what we could do on our own? Don't we want to be part of something big and beyond us and more powerful than ask? Don't we want to see God do what will give him glory and cannot be attributed to us? 
Because we are a prideful people. Think about it with me. Prayerlessness is pride. Simply, bluntly, prayerlessness is pride. Why do we pray? We pray because we know we need help. We pray because we know we need the God of the universe to do what we can’t do. So if we’re not praying, what are we saying? We’re saying we don’t need help. We’re saying with our lives, “We can do this without You.” That’s a bold thing to say to God, in any one of our lives, our families and especially in the church. We often say, “Look at what’s happening around us. How do you share the gospel in this culture?” I wonder if the greatest hindrance to the spread of the gospel is not the self-indulgent immorality of our culture, but it’s the self-sufficient mentality of the church. We’ve fooled ourselves into thinking of all we can do on our own.
God will take our wisdom our gifts our talent our influence our experience our money may he take that simple resource that which is us, and blow us away with what he does with it for his glory by his power alone. 
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I have 2 quick applications and then we are going to culminate this time together a special time of prayer. 
Moody. He has a great biography called A Passion for Souls. He started preaching in inner-city Chicago and many, many people started coming to Christ. Then he started traveling and many more people were coming to Christ. During one of his first trips to England, he was preaching in one particular church on a Sunday morning. He said later that it was one of those times when it seemed like nobody was listening. [This is pretty miserable for the guy preaching and the people listening.] People were just sitting there, looking around, bored, and he thought, “You’re not enjoying this. I’m not enjoying this. What’s going on here?” He got to the end, gave an invitation, but nobody responded. He was scheduled to come back that night to preach again, but he wasn’t really excited about doing that after that morning service. But when he got there that night, it was a totally different atmosphere in the room. He started preaching and people were sitting on the edge of their seats, totally tuned in. Everybody was looking, listening, nodding. He got to the end and invited people to trust in Christ. He said, “If you want to trust in Christ, please stand,” and people all across the room stood up. Moody was totally confused. The same group that was bored in the morning was now completely changed. He thought, “Maybe they didn’t understand me.” So he told them, “Sit back down!” Then he went through the invitation again. “I want to make sure you understand what I said,” and he walked through the gospel one more time. “Now, if you want to trust in Christ, I invite you to stand where you are.” Well, more people stood the second time than the first time. This is a true story. Moody was still not convinced so he told them to sit back down. “I want to walk through this one more time. If you really want to trust in Christ, I want to meet you in a side room afterwards, along with the pastor, and we’ll talk there.” So he talked a little more, dismissed them, then went to the side room. Within minutes, that side room was totally full of people, with standing room only. Moody, still not convinced, walked through the gospel one more time and said, “I want you to really think about this. You’re going to go home tonight.” No evangelist does this. He sent them home, saying, “If you really want to trust in Christ, I invite you to come back tomorrow night and the pastor will meet you here.” Moody was headed to another town the next morning. Moody dismissed them that night and left town the next morning. He received a telegram from that pastor a few days later that read: “Moody, you’ve got to get back here. More people showed up on Monday night than were here Sunday night. God’s doing something in this town!” This is one of those stories we read about in church history, where a massive percentage of that town ended up trusting in Christ—an awakening broke out. Here’s what I love about the story. Moody is an inquisitive guy, so he wanted to figure out what in the world happened between Sunday morning and Sunday night. It was totally different. He started doing some research and found that there was a bed-ridden woman in that town who had not been at church that morning because of her illness. Her sister was there, brought lunch to her, and the bed-ridden woman asked, “How was church this morning?” The sister said, “Ah, it wasn’t that exciting. A guy named D.L. Moody preached, but not much happened.” The bed-ridden woman’s eyes lit up. She said, “I’ve heard about that man, how God has blessed his preaching of the gospel in America. I’ve been praying that he’d come here. Put aside my food. I’m going to fast today and pray that many people would come to know Christ in our city through this man’s preaching.” Get the picture.
I'm not talking about just praying in the morning or praying in your car or praying before dinner or even praying together on Sundays or Wednesdays as a church. I'm trying my praying every time we gather together in our smaller groups in our larger groups when we're scattered walking through the city as you listen I did on Tuesday. In our lives. With our children. As our families. Intermarriages. I'm talking about taking prayer from being something that supplements our lives and supplements our walk and supplements our church and taking a Prayer to be fundamental to our very lives. That we would be known as a people not just devoted to the word of God not just devoted to one another. Not just relying on the power of the Spirit. But people that knows God so well so intimately that we cannot stop ourselves from praying to him for him for his will to be done. People that sees revival people that sees miracles of people that sees healing of people that sees people brought to salvation is a people of prayer. 
Same preacher. Same place. Same people. Totally different power, as a result of prayer. What if God is waiting to show His power in indescribable, inconceivable, unimaginable ways to a people who will take Him seriously through prayer—in their lives, in their families and as a church?
 Three quick applications and then we are going to culminate this time together a special time of prayer. 
Church, let’s pray! Let’s humble ourselves and pray for that which can only be accomplished by the power of God—in our lives, in our families, in our church. So first, let’s pray for that which can only be accomplished by the power of God. Then flowing from that, let’s experience that which can only be attributed to the glory of God. I want to show you something really interesting here in the book of Acts.
1.  Surround yourself with people who know how to pray and whose prayers are answered.
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James 5:16 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Turn back to when the church started growing like wildfire. I want you to notice the language, because is it subtley significant.I want to show you something you probably missed. This is right after Peter preached the first Christian sermon. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Did you notice that passive language there? “There were added…” That begs the question who added them? Go down to verse 47, where Luke makes it clear, to be sure we get the right answer: “The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
 If you have to think about what to pray for are you have to remind yourself to pray . You are not living in a way that is relying on God and desperate for him you're not thinking eternally you're not worried about the loss or understanding the spiritual battle we were in so if you want to live a desperate life of desperate prayer we need to live in a way that is desperately in need of God to help us. Number two 
If you know someone whose prayers are answered. Ask them to pray for you and with you. And to teach you how to pray.
1.  Surround yourself with people or someone who knows how to prayer and his prayers are answered. There is great prayer in the prayers of the righteous. Because their prayers work. If you know some of these prayers are answered. Ask them to pray for you. I slippery in front of you. Estimate teach you how to pray. Ask if you can listen to and pray. We need people in our church who have a prayer life a life of prayer life of answered prayer to be our prayer warriors to be praying for us often. If you can pray for your prayers answered that may be your primary ministry to this church. Don't hide it under a bushel basket. Pray when we're gathered together. Bring your prayers forward on Sundays and on Wednesdays. If you need to pray for somebody in the middle of Bible study stop me let's pray. And if that is not you. You pray you pray pray can you watch those with a strong prayer life and learn from them how to pray.
There is great power in the prayers of the righteous. Because their prayers work. If you know some of these prayers are answered. Ask them to pray for you. I slippery in front of you. Estimate teach you how to pray. Ask if you can listen to and pray. We need people in our church who have a prayer life a life of prayer life of answered prayer to be our prayer warriors to be praying for us often. If you can pray for your prayers answered that may be your primary ministry to this church. Don't hide it under a bushel basket. Pray when we're gathered together. Bring your prayers forward on Sundays and on Wednesdays. If you need to pray for somebody in the middle of Bible study stop me let's pray. And if that is not you. You pray you pray pray can you watch those with a strong prayer life and learn from them how to pray.
Turn over to 5:14: “More than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” God was adding them to Himself.
And if that is you…if this is your gift…we need people in our church who have life of answered prayer...that may be your primary ministry to this church. Don't hide it and don’t quench it.
 Surround yourself with people or someone who knows how to prayer and his prayers are answered. There is great prayer in the prayers of the righteous. Because their prayers work. If you know some of these prayers are answered. Ask them to pray for you. I slippery in front of you. Estimate teach you how to pray. Ask if you can listen to and pray. We need people in our church who have a prayer life a life of prayer life of answered prayer to be our prayer warriors to be praying for us often. If you can pray for your prayers answered that may be your primary ministry to this church. Don't hide it under a bushel basket. Pray when we're gathered together. Bring your prayers forward on Sundays and on Wednesdays. If you need to pray for somebody in the middle of Bible study stop me let's pray. And if that is not you. You pray you pray pray can you watch those with a strong prayer life and learn from them how to pray.
2. Do not quench the Spirit in your prayers.
Who’s growing the church? It’s not Peter or John or Paul or Barnabas. No, God is. God is doing what can only be attributed to His hand at work. Isn’t that what you want to be part of? Don’t you want to see the power of God at work in your life and in your family in a way that can only be attributed to the glory of God? In this church, don’t we want to be part of something that is way beyond you and me? Don’t we want to see God do that which can’t be attributed to us? God takes our collective wisdom, gifts, talents, influence, experience and money, then He just blows all that out of the water in ways that resound to His glory alone.
The primary ways to quench the Spirit in prayer are to not pray when you should and to not believe God will reward us through prayer.
Verse you do not get because you do not ask.
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Verse you do not get because you do not ask.
This is what I love about George Mueller, another great biography—George Mueller of Bristol. In the 19th century, Mueller pastored a church in Bristol, England, for about 60 years. But he was best known for the orphan ministry he began. In his lifetime he cared for over 10,000 orphans. What was unique about Mueller’s ministry is that he never publicized the physical needs that the orphans had, nor would he let anybody on the orphanage staff do that either. If they needed food for the orphans tomorrow, instead of saying, “Who do we call?” they would just go to prayer. They would only pray, then somebody would show up with food the next day. This is how all those decades of ministry to orphans was built. In his journal, Mueller described why he started the orphanage. Listen closely to this. It totally took me by surprise. If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith obtained, without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an orphan house, there would be something which—with the Lord’s blessing—might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God, besides being a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted of the reality of the things of God. This then, was the primary reason for establishing the orphan house. The first and primary object of the work was, and still is, that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need only by prayer and faith, without anyone being asked—by me or my fellow laborers—whereby it may be seen that God is faithful still and hears prayer still. Did you catch that? Mueller just said, “The reason I started the orphan house was not primarily to care for orphans.” Of course, he loved orphans, but that’s not why he started the orphan house. He started it because he wanted to set up a ministry that was totally built on prayer.
James 4:2 ESV
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
 Prayers will be answered. 
And...
When God provided, it would be clear to the church and to the consciences of the unconverted—those who were without Christ—that when you pray to God, He is faithful to answer your prayers. He wanted God to be magnified in that way. May that be us. May we see disciples made and churches multiplied and needs met and orphans cared for and the hungry fed and the unreached peoples reached. Then when people ask, “How did all that happen?” we have only one response: God did it all. We just pleaded before God and He did it all. That only happens, though, when we are desperate for Him in prayer. I’m not just talking about a prayer room, or a prayer time here or there, but in all that we do— every time we gather together, in small groups, in large groups, all the time as we scatter, on our own, in our lives, in our families, in our marriages. I’m talking, not about it being supplemental, but being fundamental to our lives individually and as a church. It would make no sense for us to just talk about prayer today, but not to pray, so I want us to pray here. I don’t know what’s going to happen in light of and and . We don’t have any special effects engineered—we’re just going to see.
John 14:13–14 ESV
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
1 if have to think about what to pray for…not liveing in a way that relys on God or is depsrate for Him…or thinking eternally about the lost…or undertaingin gthe spiritual battle.
Because without faith we can do nothing...especially the faith that our God answers our prayers. The more we believe that the more we will pray. 
Pray without ceasing pray for everything pray for anything praying for big things to pray for small things thank God for everything because everything is from him. Speak and pray the gospel to yourself daily all day often. Because without faith we can do nothing especially the prayer faith that our God answers prayers. If we believe that we will pray. 
2. Find someone who knows how to pray and prayers are answered
3. Don’r quench the {Sirit…what if neieved do not get beecause do not ask or prayer will be ansered....pray…for anythign…everything…big things…small things…because without fait hwe can do nothing…especially the faith that our god answrs peaers.
Because without faith we can do nothing especially the faith that our God answers prayers. If we believed that we will pray. 
I want this time to culminate in one particular prayer, so here’s the deal.
And finally let us remember...
Our mission as a church is to live for Jesus by the Powerof the Spirit for the Glory of God.
Our mission as a church is to live for Jesus by the Power of the Spirit for the Glory of God.
This is a mission to be overwhelmed by. We can not do that on our own.
So how is that possible?
Prayer is only possible because God loves us so much that He has sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for us…His church, for our sins. Jesus has paid the price for the wickedness in our hearts, so we can be forgiven and have, not just forgiveness of sins, but access into the very presence of God and by the Spirit...the very power of God.
Jesus’s life death and resurrection is what makes prayer possible and answered prayer promised to us...
We have this privilege as followers of Jesus because of the blood of Jesus shed for our sins...and because He lives…and reigns…and listens…and cares…and has power and control over all things!
Jesus’s life death and resurrection is what makes prayer and answered prayer possible for us at the cross…
We have this privilege as followers of Jesus because of the blood of Jesus shed for our sins...and because He lives…and reigns…and listens…and cares…and has power and contol over all things!
And as we pray this morning, if you’re not a follower of Christ, I invite you to trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Let this be the first time you truly pray to God in faith. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and know that because of what He did on the cross, salvation is possible for you…if that is you this morning…tell someone...come to me or someone else as we pray…don’t let this moment pass...we will pray for you as well.
I want to encourage us to not let our minds wander and forget the magnitude of what we’re doing. We’re praying to the same God Who brought tongues of fire in and shook a building in . He’s the same Jesus that brings the dead to life…the same God who created…named…and numbered the stars in the sky.
He is the One we’re about to speak to right now.
I am going to lead us in a prayer of thanksgiving and praise for our salvation…and for those in the room.
Tadd for families.
Tadd for families...
Dana for our church...
Ryan for our community…for the lost.
You can to pray out loud during this time. Call out to God. This is the beauty of prayer—even community.
You can to pray out loud during this time. Call out to God. This is the beauty of prayer—even community.
I want to give you freedom to stay where you’re seated, or if you’d like to stand, or if you’d like to go out into the aisles or come down here in front—or even get on your knees by your seat.
We are about to fix our attention on the God of the universe. By the blood of Christ, we’re going to go before Him, praying and pleading with Him for our lives, our families, our church and our community.
We have this promise.
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2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Let’s throw any pride aside and freely and humbly worship our God and bring to him our prayers…as we cry out for His grace, mercy, help and strength.
IF you cave something specific bring it to me…out lodebefore the church…or write it down…or text me (number on screen).
Let’s throw any pride aside and freely and humbly worship our God and bring to him our prayers…as we cry out for His grace, mercy, help and strength.
Let me invite you to broaden your prayer now for your marriage, family, kids, grandkids, mom, dad. And not just your family, but others’ families, for marriages, for families and kids around us.
Let’s pray…I will start by praying Eph 3:14-20.
Think of all the things going on in and through the church, from our gatherings to our scattering, for God to be glorified in an Acts. Plead for His power in the church today. We wouldn’t be content to do anything apart from His power. Now, let’s expand our praying one more time, to our communities. I want to invite us to pray especially in light of where we are—where the gospel will, Lord willing, be faithfully proclaimed here. I want to invite us to pray that many people will come to know Christ through this church, and to pray specifically, by name, right now, for people in your sphere of influence who you can invite to be here. Let’s pray for those people specifically—people we work with, live around, those in our families—that God would save them, that God would save many people, which only He can do.
Pray that God would do something similar to what He did in and through D.L. Moody that night, in this church, next week. I invite you to stand with me, continuing in a spirit of prayer, and pray as the Lord Jesus taught us to pray:
1 if have to think about what to pray for…not liveing in a way that relys on God or is depsrate for Him…or thinking eternally about the lost…or undertaingin gthe spiritual battle.
2. Find someone who knows how to pray and prayers are answered
3. Don’r quench the {Sirit…what if neieved do not get beecause do not ask or prayer will be ansered....pray…for anythign…everything…big things…small things…because without fait hwe can do nothing…especially the faith that our god answrs peaers.
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