Sermon for Sunday September 2nd, 2012

The Awesome "Power of Prayer" by Charlie Roberts

Acts 12:5-12:17

The Awesome "WMD" Power of Prayer

Acts 12:5 NASB
5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

Ill. There is a legend of a small town in which there were no liquor stores or nightclubs.

Eventually, however, a nightclub was built right on Main Street and one of the churches, in the area, 

was so disturbed that they conducted several all-night prayer meetings, and asked the Lord to burn down the nightclub. 

Lightning struck the nightclub a short time later, and it was completely destroyed by fire. 

The owner, knowing how the Believers had prayed, sued the church for the damages. 

His attorney claimed that their prayers had caused the lightning and fire.
The church people, on the other hand, hired a lawyer and contested the charges.
During the trial the judge declared, "Itís the opinion of this court that the owner of the nightclub is the one who really believes in prayer while the church members do not!" 

Imagine that, Church people having a hard time believing that their prayers were answered so quickly and even at all,

And then willingly throwing God under the bus, disclaiming their responsibility that there prayers had been answered.

And here someone of the world, is amazed beyond belief, by the power and sheer magnitude that prayer could have at all and sued for damages done by it.

Prayer works, even when you donít know what to pray, you can pray in the Spirit, The Holy Spirit knows exactly what to pray for you and it works!

In fact it even works better, because when you pray in the Spirit, you donít limit Godís amazing abilities to your own understanding,

You give Him free reign to do whatever it takes, to bring about not just your desired outcome, but His will in the situation, which works everything for your good!

Romans 8:26-27 NKJ
26. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 
27. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Sometimes its hard to believe that its just that easy, to pray in the Spirit, speak in tongues and the Holy Spirit does the rest.

I donít mean to be simplistic , but it is, God made it that way.

If you study the gospel and exactly what Jesus accomplished for you on the cross, 

when He introduced the Grace Message to the world, you will find out that He made it easy enough for a child to understand,

Believe in Jesus, receive what God sent His Son to deliver and trust in His ability to bring about what He has promised!

Its like the old hymn; Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe;

The story of our text relates the same way, only believe that what your asking for will happen, but donít be shocked when God delivers the results that your looking for and then some.

Acts 12:5 NASB
5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

Fervent defined; showing passionate enthusiasm: showing ardent or extremely passionate enthusiasm.

Ardent defined; glowing: shining or glowing brightly, with a fiery quality

What we had going on at church that night was a good ole fashion, Holy Ghost prayer meeting.

Its no wonder, it hadnít been that long since the day of Pentecost had happened 

And Iím sure they were using what God had just given them, the power of the Holy Spirit, He had made available to them, to live victoriously!

Am I alone here, am I the only one who thinks;

ďMakes you wonder why, everyone doesnít use and accept, what God has made available to them?Ē

See, like a lot of people, they had heard stories all their life how prayer changes things,
*Solomon prayed and God gave him wisdom, made him the wisest man on earth. 
*Hezekiah prayed and God added 15 years to his life. 
*Elijah prayed that it wouldnít rain for 3 1/2 years, thatís 1,095 days and guess what?, it didnít!
*Jabez prayed for more territory and God granted him what he asked for!

they had seen the power of prayer in action, probably numerous times.

How many know its one thing to see someone else pray and use their faith and watch a miracle happen for them,

But that itís a totally different story, when youíre the one, or your part of the group doing the praying, expecting the results!

Either scenario, God is the one who delivers the results. 

The accuser would have you believe or feel like, that your prayers sometimes donít make it above your head,

That they just hit the ceiling and fall flat, or that God doesnít hear them,

But thatís contrary to what TBS. He hears everyoneís prayers, saints and sinners alike,

ďreallyĒ, yes ďreally,Ē He hears us, when we prayed the sinners prayer doesnít He?

John 11:41-42 MSG.
41-42Then, to the others, "Go ahead, take away the stone." 
   They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, "Father, Iím grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here Iíve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me." 

Jesus wanted them to know that nothing is to hard for God and that prayer changes things and God hears you, when you call out to Him expecting! Amen?

Matt. 21:21-22
21. So Jesus answered and said to them, ďAssuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ĎBe removed and be cast into the sea,í it will be done. 22. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.Ē

James 5:15-16 NKJ 
15. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 
16. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Well I donít feel righteous, you canít go by what you feel,

 if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have the righteousness of God, through your relationship with His Son.

Therefore you are a righteous man or woman, Jesus has made you righteous, start acting like it,

Start expecting your prayers to avail much, not because of you, or what your capable of, 

but because of what Jesus has done for you and what He is capable of, Praise God! 

and is able to accomplish through you, when you start to believe and lay hold of this promise from God! Amen?

(personal story how God has worked through you as you prayed for someone expecting or needing a miracle and it happened) Ruth Annís story

How many times has God been able to use your faith for someone elseís needs to be met!

Its one thing to say that, or to think that a person needs prayer, 
its another to pray and expect God to do it for them, whatever the need may be and it actually happens!

And sometimes the need may seem monumental to you, ďGuess WhatĒ its not monumental to God!

And since your not the one who is going to have to meet the need, it shouldnít be to you either! Praise God!

Prayer is not the least you can do, prayer is always, the most powerful thing you can do! Amen?

Its your WMD. (weapon of mass destruction) against all the things that the devil throws at you and the ones around you! Praise the Lord God Almighty!!

Acts 12:5-17 MSG.
5. All the time that Peter was under heavy guard in the jailhouse, the church prayed for him most strenuously. 

 6. Then the time came for Herod to bring him out for the kill. That night, even though shackled to two soldiers, one on either side, Peter slept like a baby. 

(He knew God had everything under his control, you know a lot of times it may seem differently in life, 

but God always has the last word on everything!)

And there were guards at the door keeping their eyes on the place. Herod was taking no chances! (there were 16 guards in all)
 7-9. Suddenly there was an angel at his side and light flooding the room. The angel shook Peter and got him up: "Hurry!" The handcuffs fell off his wrists. The angel said, "Get dressed. Put on your shoes." Peter did it. Then, "Grab your coat and letís get out of here." Peter followed him, but didnít believe it was really an angeló he thought he was dreaming. 

 10-11. Past the first guard and then the second, they came to the iron gate that led into the city. It swung open before them on its own, and they were out on the street, free as the breeze. At the first intersection the angel left him, going his own way. Thatís when Peter realized it was no dream. "I canít believe itó, this really happened! The Master sent his angel and rescued me from Herodís vicious little production and the spectacle the Jewish mob was looking forward to." 

 12-14. Still shaking his head, amazed, he went to Maryís house, the Mary who was John Markís mother. The house was packed with praying friends. When he knocked on the door to the courtyard, a young woman named Rhoda came to see who it was. But when she recognized his voiceó Peterís voice!ó she was so excited and eager to tell everyone Peter was there that she forgot to open the door and left him standing in the street. 

 15-16. But they wouldnít believe her, dismissing her, dismissing her report. "Youíre crazy," they said. She stuck by her story, insisting. They still wouldnít believe her and said, "It must be his angel." All this time poor Peter was standing out in the street, knocking away. 

 16-17. Finally they opened up and saw himó and went wild! Peter put his hands up and calmed them down. He described how the Master had gotten him out of jail, then said, "Tell James and the brothers whatís happened." He left them and went off to another place. 

What a fantastic miracle, what a fantastic story, 

And you know what else is amazing?

God is still on the throne, still waiting and wanting to perform miracles of this magnitude in your life,

Praise God, Heís Still changing lives all over the world today, TBS. ďHe changes notĒ
What He did for others throughout all of history and even greater things, He will gladly do for you, 

In fact TBS. it gives Him great pleasure to give to us and to meet the needs of His Children.

He is not a respecter of persons, the prayers of every righteous man or woman avails much. 

Make prayer and seeking Gods help in every situation, first place in your life,

Make it your first resort every time instead of your last resort. 

Some may say, I donít always know how to pray, or what to pray.

Donít feel bad, your not alone, your not the only one who has ever felt that way.

If thatís you, Pray that God would fill you with the Holy Spirit and the evidence of speaking in tongues,

for its in those times, when we donít know what to pray, that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us,

And knows exactly what to pray and petition God for on our behalf, to see our needs and the needs of those around us met.
Ill. A heart-broken little girl began to kneel and pour out her heart to God in the altar at her local church. She did not know what to say. As she wept speechless, she began to remember what her Father had told her, "God knows your needs even before you pray, and he can answer when you donít even know for what to ask." So she began to say her alphabet. A concerned adult from that church knelt beside her and heard her sobbing and saying her ABCís and inquired what exactly she was trying to do. The little girl told this caring adult, "Iím praying to God from my heart." But the adult answered, "It sounds to me more like your are saying the alphabet!"
"Yes," she said, "But God knows more about what I need than I do, and he can take all these letters and arrange them in just the right way to hear and answer my prayers!" 

thatís what the Holy Spirit does with our prayer language, 

when we speak in tongues, we may not understand it, but God does and thatís all that matters.

You donít have to figure it out, just approach it with the faith of a child and God will do the rest!

I encourage you if you havenít been already, to be filled with Gods gift, the amazing, wonderful Holy Spirit,

Take your prayer life to the next level today, experience all that God meant and means for you to have in your life.

For when He said ďGreater things shall you do, than I have doneĒ
He knew that it wouldnít be possible through your own efforts, 
But only possible through the Gift of the Holy Spirit, working in your life.

Accept the gift today, God wants to take you to new heights, God wants to do things in your life you canít even imagine.

Lets all pray and expect God to do the miraculous in our lives and in our church and not be surprised when He does. Amen.