Sunday morning: September 10th 2017 – 10.30 am. The second in our series of sermons under the general heading of “Going for Growth” looking at the things that need to be in place for the church to go “beyond 200.”
The service will also include an infant dedication
Changing the subject of that familiar advertising slogan, let us now consider “probably the best prayer meeting in the world!!” It occurred as a result of a miracle (Acts 3 v 1- 10); a message about the resurrection of Jesus (v 11 – 26); and a dollop of religious mistreatment (Acts 4 v 1 – 22.)
Following imprisonment and interrogation Peter and John returned to the church, described rather wonderfully as – “their own people.” They share what has happened, and what followed was “probably the best prayer meeting in the world!!” Using our spiritual parachutes let’s drop in on it and see what we can learn about the CHARACTERISTICS of prayer:-
A – Solidarity.
“They raised their voices TOGETHER in prayer to God.” Individual prayer is important; but there is something special about corporate prayer when voices are raised in unity and togetherness in passionate prayer to God (see Acts 2 v 44 & 46; Acts 4 v 32 for a church in solidarity.)
B – Supremacy.
The first words of the prayer were – “SOVEREIGN Lord.” They acknowledged God as being in control of all things such as creation, the rulers of the nations, as well as all that happened to Jesus surrounding the cross. A reminder to them that God was still in control of his church, despite the beginnings of opposition that would inevitably increase.
C – Submission.
They referred to themselves as – “your SERVANTS” who were in submission to God’s plan, which was to offer salvation through them bold preaching and healing. Belief in God’s sovereignty does not negate human responsibility.
Challenge – Are these characteristics of the church prayer meeting today?
But before we take our leave of this amazing prayer meeting, let us take note of the CONSEQUENCES of such prayer:-
A – Presence.
We are not told where they met, but afterwards – “the place where they were meeting was SHAKEN.” Not an earthquake, but a sign of the manifest presence of God in the midst of his praying people.
B – Power.
– “they were all FILLED with the Holy Spirit.” They had already been filled, but yesterday’s resources were not enough for today’s needs, so they were filled again (Ephesians 5 v 18.)
C – Proclamation.
The shaking and the filling meant that they – “SPOKE the word of God boldly” in that the Spirit was given to empower them to be effective in mission (Acts 1 v 8) as they proclaimed courageously, not their own puny words, but the life transforming word of God.
Challenge – Are these the consequences of the church prayer meeting today?
If we are to continue to press on “beyond 200” then as individuals, and in particular as a church, we need to intensify our praying, becoming more prayerfully passionate in order that God might boldly speak his word and work his wonders through us.
Theme: “The priority of passionate prayer”
Reading: Acts 4 v 23 – 31
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Fay Graham