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Power of Prayer

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PO - I’ve heard it said that, “Prayer moves the hand that moves the world!”
INTRO - In our text this morning we will go back to the time when the apostles were threatened not to preach anymore.
They responded by going back to have a prayer meeting.
This is where we read in the Book of Acts:
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.
They prayed and shook the place.
How frequently churches pray, “God, shake us up!”
Personally, I think folks would have heart attacks if God literally started answering that prayer and shaking church buildings.
Let me be clear about one thing before we get to far into this message:
“The place was shaken.”
I do not thing this is symbolic.
I literally believe the building they were in was shaken.
God shook the place when they prayed.
When Jesus died, God shook the earth.
There is power in the blood.
When Jesus came out of the grave, God shook the earth.
There is power in the resurrection.
When God’s people prayed, the Holy Spirit came.
God shook the place to say there is power in prayer to make hell’s foundation tremble.
EST - Our text this morning relates the coming of the Holy Spirit to people who gathered to pray with one another.
ESS - Our message this morning will encourage us to gather together and pray and trust that God will make a way.
OSS - Following our message will be a time for you to respond. Will you choose now to allow God’s Word to take its place in your heart leading you to His will being done in your life?
The success of the church in the fist century was their praying.
Just think how difficult it was for them.
The religious elite wanted them gone.
The Romans didn’t want them starting a mob and cared less for any of the “Jewish” religions.
They were a small group of Jesus followers among the masses of people following their own hearts.
Still, the church survived the difficulties of the days.
Why did they survive?
They made it because of prayer.
They believed and they prayed.
Today we don’t need better buildings, flashier flyers, or elaborate entertainment.
Today, FBC Minneola, Beit Tikvah, and our Hispanic brothers and sisters joining us next week, what we need are people that know how to pray with one another.
We need men and women mighty in prayer.
We need girls and boys taught how to pray by believing and unashamed adults, how to pray.
We need preachers that boldly preach God’s people MUST come together in prayer or disappear from Minneola.
The Holy Spirit does not flow through buildings, advertisements, or what’s new cool and exciting.
No, the Holy Spirit flows through people.
The Holy Spirt does not come on machinery, but on men.
He does not anoint plans; He anoints people of prayer to carry out his plans.
Join me as we look at this text.
We will consider three points.
But, first, we PRAY
PRAY

What does it say?

Again, our text from the book of Acts.
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.

What powerful prayer does. “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken,”

We aren’t shaking anything today.
Weak prayers are the only shaky thing.
But, prayers of the early Christians were:
“powerful enough that they shook the very place where they prayed.”
The word “shaken” means to knock over or destroy.
The enemy of the church needs to be destroyed, but our weak prayers do not stop the enemy.
“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” --John Wesley
TRANS - I have no doubt you want the enemy of the church to meet his end. This bring us to the next point; what do we need in order to move forward with God’s plans?
We need something only God can provide.

What powerful prayer does provide. “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit”

If we expect to serve the Lord, we must be endowed by the Holy Spirit.
Today, its hard to see that.
Churches rather have monetary endowments.
People trust their charismatic personalties instead of the Holy Spirit.
Many Christians are so afraid of the Pentecostal churches’ reliance on the Holy Spirit that they rarely mention Him much less trust Him to lead them.
God’s wants to give His power to His people.

Holy Spirit, Filling of

What God chooses, He cleanses.

What God cleanses, He molds.

What God molds, He fills.

What God fills, He uses.

J. S. Baxter662

TRANS - Being used by God. Brings us to the next point.

What powerful prayer does provided to make things happen. “and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

Show me a shrinking, dying, sickly church and I’ll show you a church that does not pray more when things get more difficult.
Lack of praying people, and I do mean groups of church people gathered together to intentionally pray, erodes the service to God.
In our text, they gathered together for prayer and the result was that Jesus followers started preaching God’s Word.
The Christians spoke about Jesus with courage given by the presence of the Holy Spirit in response to their prayers.
Luther said, “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day.”
Every Christian will have trials, troubles, difficulties, and dire situations when serving Jesus.
We are never promised this life will be easy.
John 16:33 ESV
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
If Jesus said this, than we can expect trouble to come when we talk about what the Bible teaches.
TRANS (to closing) - were do we go with all this?

What can I do?

Successful living for Jesus depends on how we learn to pray in groups with others.
We must object to the lie that says “God does not provide the time to pray.”
We must put aside the material and physical things that we put before our prayers for service.
It is no wonder that service for God is sickly, weak, and inconsistent.
“If we expect to speak, and to do so boldly, we must learn to pray together.”
Unfaithfulness and failure to serve is most frequently the result of a church that does not gather for group prayer.
Our passage clearly teaches that Divine help comes to people who come together in prayer.
(end)
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