When Prayer Works (Acts 12:1-19)

Last week we saw what God expects of us as His Church. We are not what He calls us to be unless we are faithful: faithful to engage and evangelise (11:19-21), faithful to embrace (v22-24), faithful to edify (v25-26), and faithful to impart (v27-30).

There, the emphasis is on us, and what we must be.

But can we really be held accountable for the state of the Church? We live in such a hostile world that it’s no wonder the Church is a mess.

The answer to that question is prayer. What do we believe about prayer? And what do we believe about the God we pray to?

It’s easy to say we believe in prayer (whether or not we do it). But whether we (individually or as a church) pray depends not so much about what we think of prayer, but what we think of God:

Is the God we pray to really able to change things? We see here in Acts 12 that Yes, God is sovereign over nations and individuals. So, He really can change things, big or small.

And that matters because we are in a war. The Church does face opposition:

  • We are under pressure to be unfaithful, to keep quiet about the good news of salvation in Jesus (engage & evangelise).
  • We are under pressure to be suspicious of people who are different, to only embrace people like us (embrace).
  • We are under pressure seek our satisfaction in this world, rather than desiring to be transformed to be like Jesus (edify).
  • We are under pressure to put our needs and comforts first, rather than imparting what we have to others (impart).

Even if we aren’t threatened with physical danger, we are in spiritual danger, danger to be unfaithful to God. There is a battle going on. And if we are going to be faithful, we must fight the battle with prayer:

  1. There is a Battle Raging (v1-5)
  2. What Prayer Does (v6-12)
  3. What Kind of Prayer is This? (v12-19)

Sunday 10th February 2019

Review questions:

  • God expects His Church to en______e & ev___________________e (11:19-20), em__________e (v22-24), ed_________y (v25-26), & im____________t (v27-30).
  • How does spiritual war appear in my life?
  • How do we fight (v5, Eph 6:18)?
  • What is Peter doing (v6)?
  • Sleep says:
  • How effective is prayer (Eph 3:20?)
  • I can pray with ______________________
  • Prayer should be c_____________ (v12) not always p_______________ (v13-15) but e_________________ (v5).
  • Why don’t we get what we pray for (James 4:3, John 14:13)?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I should live:

Published by Stephen McDonald

Christian, preacher, broadcaster

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