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Getting More from Prayer - Acts 4:23-31

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Introduction

1. Together with singing, an important part of our assemblies are our prayers

a. Often beginning our service, and concluding them

b. Interspersed throughout the course of our service

2. Prayer likewise is an important element of serving the Lord with gladness

a. It is implied in the text upon which our Getting More series is based - Psalm 100:4

b. Paul stressed its inclusion in conduct suitable in the house of God - 1 Timothy 2:1-2; 3:15

3. Yet prayer can become a meaningless exercise:

a. If prayers are offered by rote with little thought by those offering the prayer

b. If prayers are hardly listened to, and minds are allowed to wander to other things

 

Body

I. PRAYER IN OUR ASSEMBLIES

A. THE PLACE OF PRAYER

1. Prayers were offered in the assemblies of the early Christians

a. As indicated in 1 Corinthians 14:15-17

b. Especially in times of trouble - Acts 4:23-31; 12:5, 12

2. Prayers were enjoined by the apostle Paul

a. To give thanks for all things - Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

b. To pray for all men, and for those in authority - 1 Timothy 2:1-2

3. Christians joined together in supplication and thanksgiving pleases God - 1 Timothy 2:3-4

B. THE POWER OF PRAYER

1. Prayers of a righteous man avails much - James 5:16

2. Prayers of faith will raise the sick - James 5:15 (when it is the Lord's will)

3. Prayers result in the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds Philippians 4:6-7

4. Prayers can result in the peace among nations - 1 Timothy 2:2 (otherwise, why pray?)

5. Prayer can impart:

a. Strength for those struggling with temptation - Matthew 26:41

b. Forgiveness for those who fall into temptation - Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9

c. Opportunity for the spread of the gospel - Matthew 9:38; Colossians 4:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1

d. Boldness to those who proclaim the gospel - Ephesians 6:18-20

 

Christians in their prayers work together with God to produce great things

 

II. GETTING MORE OUT OUR PRAYERS

A. BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PRAYER

1. Jesus would have you believe in the power of prayer

a. The power of persistent prayer - Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 18:1-8

b. The power of praying together - Matthew 18:19

c. The power of praying with faith - Matthew 21:22

2. The following conditions are assumed for prayer to be effective:

a. That we are doing the Father's will - 1 John 3:22; cf. 1 Peter 3:12; Proverbs 28:9

b. That we ask according to His will - 1 John 5:14, 15

3. Those who believe in the efficacy of prayer, will rejoice when Christians pray

B. DEVELOP A PERSONAL PRACTICE OF PRAYER

1. Prayer is more meaningful when it is a familiar experience

a. You will appreciate its value more

b. You will have developed the mental discipline to get more out of praying

2. So take to heart the following admonitions regarding prayer:

a. "...continuing steadfastly in prayer..." - Romans 12:12

b. "Continue earnestly in prayer..." - Colossians 4:2

c. "Pray without ceasing" - 1 Thessalonians 5:17

3. People who pray often, love to pray

C. TAKE A HUMBLE POSITION WHEN YOU PRAY

1. The Bible describes various 'praying postures':

a. Standing - 1 Samuel 1:26; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:13

b. Hands spread out and/or lifted heavenward - 1 Kings 8:22; Nehemiah 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:8

c. Bowing the head - Nehemiah 8:6

d. Lifting heavenward of the eyes - John 17:1

e. Kneeling - Acts 20:36

f. Falling down with the face upon the ground - Matthew 26:39

g. Bowing the head, with face between the knees - 1 Kings 18:42

h. Bowing the head, while striking the breast - Luke 18:13

2. While there is no 'official posture' for prayer

a. The posture reflects the attitude of the one praying

b. The posture should reflect humility, reverence

c. Select a posture that you feel comfortable with, that reflects your true state of mind

3. Prayer is a state of mind, which can be enhanced by bodily position

D. PRAY ALONG WITH THOSE WHO LEAD IN PRAYER

1. Don't be a passive listener, be an active participant

2. In your heart, tell the Lord you agree with what is being said

3. Make the public prayer your own personal prayer

E. OFFER A HEARTY "AMEN!" AT THE CLOSE OF PRAYER...

1. The word 'amen' is transliterated from Hebrew into both Greek and English

a. It means 'truly, verily' - ISBE

b. At the end of a statement, it means: 'so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled' - Thayer

c. Jesus used it in concluding His pattern prayer - Matthew 6:13

2. It affirms agreement with what is said

a. In the primitive churches it was common for the general audience to say 'Amen' at the close of the prayer (1 Corinthians 14:16) - Easton

b. It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own

3. Public prayers are enhanced for all, when concluded with a hearty "Amen!"

 

Conclusion

1. The power of prayer is too important to be taken lightly

a. Prayer is an avenue by which we can thank and praise God

b. Prayer is a means by which we can bring God's blessings on ourselves and others for whom we pray

2. Give prayer its proper due by

a. Believing in the power of prayer

b. Developing a personal practice of prayer

c. Taking a humble position when you pray

d. Praying in your heart along with those who lead in prayer

e. Offering a hearty "Amen!" at the close of the prayers

 

Joined with joyful singing, heartfelt praying will go a long way to our serving the Lord with gladness!

 

Are You Saved?

 

-- Don Treadway, January 2010 --

 


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