SERIES: The Book of Acts

TEXT: Acts 12:1-19

MESSAGE: A Praying Church

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“The true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer.” — Leonard Ravenhill

Q: What does a praying church look like?

TEXT: Acts 12:1-19

 “One of the most delightful and engaging narratives in all of Acts.”  – John Polhill 

“Here we see the church’s mission taking significant steps forward. Before Luke tells about the major advancement of the gospel with the first missionary journey in chapter 13, he provides us with a story of opposition in the Jerusalem church. It reminds us that kingdom advancement doesn’t come without a significant cost.” – Tony Merida

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”— Matthew 11:28

A Praying church is marked by…(1. A Desperation 2. A Discovery 3. A De-Centering)

  1. A Desperation (v. 1-5)

“About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.”

      2. A Discovery (v. 11-16a)

“When 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.” 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. 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. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel! “But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.

“The Lord delivered Peter by sheer grace. He is the great rescuer…God’s grace was so astonishing that even a praying church had a hard time believing it!” — Tony Merida

     3. A De-Centering (v. 17)

“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.”

“Your Master’s life was dominated by a cross. He has called you also to a life with a cross. This clear gospel note is so easy to forget in flabby Western society. With a great chorus of custom, advertisement and temptation this world is beckoning you to a life of self-indulgence. Your flesh is drawn to that appeal, and will fall in with the world’s suggestions. But the Lord of glory has called you to a life of self-denial, to a cross.” — Walter Chantry

TAKEAWAYS: How can we grow in our prayer life?

Expect impossible situations

“God has not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn pathways all our life through; God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But God has promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way; grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.” — Anonymous

Remember that God’s ways are untraceable

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7

Expect God to move

Gospel: 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:11-13