Prayer and the power to serve

Pulpit message for 10.3.11

From Evernote:

Prayer and the power to serve

Intro: The beginning of something great: Piper!

Shortly after he was appointed as a city missionary for New York, Jeremiah Lamphier, a zealous businessman, was confronted with a declining membership, not the least of which was optimized by a declining interest in spiritual things. His solution was novel, if not ingenious… He produced a handbill and distributed it among the businesses of the city. In part it said,

A day prayer meeting is held every Wednesday from 12 to 1 in the consistory building in the rear of the North Dutch Church, corner of Fulton and William Streets. The meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers, and businessman generally an opportunity to stop and call upon God amid the perplexities incident to their respective avocations. It will continue for an hour, but is also designed for those who may find it inconvenient to remain more than 5 or 10 minutes, as well as those who can spare the whole hour. Accordingly, at 12 noon, 23 September, 1857 the door opened and the faithful Lamphier took his seat to await the response to his invitation… 5 minutes went by…no one appeared. The missionary paced the room in a conflict of fear and faith. 10 minutes elapsed… Still no one came. 15 minutes passed. Lamphier was yet alone…20 minutes; 25;30; and then at 12:30 a step was heard on the stairs, and the first person appeared, then another, and another and another, until 6 people were present and the prayer meeting began. On the following Wednesday, there were 40 intercessors. Thus in the first week, of October, 1857, it was decided to hold a meeting daily instead of weekly. Within 6 months, 10 thousand businessman were gathering daily for prayer in NY , and within 2 years, a million converts were added to the American churches. … All this with no fanaticism, no hysteria, simply an incredible movement of the people to pray…

… Asking means receiving the utmost of Joy in every crevice of our being…

Trans: and why not…

Intro: 2/ part of the set-up instructions for church: Acts 2:42

Title: Prayer becomes the power source for service

CONSIGNED TO FAILURE:1-4 The background of a corruptible king

  • Herod the great–(Ordered death of innocents @Jesus’ birth)…
  • Herod Aristobulus–
  • Herod Agrippa After death of father, Rome, schooled, playboy… broke, powerless/ fled to Palestine to escape creditors./ poverty/ Herod Antipas
  • When he returned to Rome, Emporer Tiberius had him throne- prison, childhood friend Calagula, rescued and enriched him with some control, fed more when Tiberius died, Claudius succeeded to throne giving control: Judea/ Samaria

The pattern of a corruptible system

  • It is planned: his play was for the hearts of a people to gullible to discern
  • It is Perpetual: his test was with James to test the stomach
  • It is personal Motivated by a personal quest for power/ significance

The power and availability of Angelic help. See Heb. 12:22-23; Heb. 1:14

COMPELLED TO PRAY: 12:5 Fervent in prayer/ Word actually means to stretch/ strain in prayer:

Kenneth Wuest: renders the two ideas of Chapter 12 in opposition to one another: “therefore on the one hand, Peter was continually guarded in prison, but on the other hand, prayer was continually and earnestly being directed by the church to God concerning him… Pg 302

  • Darby version: renders it unceasing prayer,
  • Amplified: identifies it as Persistant…
  • The Message best captured the thought as it says, ” that the church prayed most strenuously.”

A church with it’s back against the wall and it’s heart in the basement of discouragement can do no better than to find it’s strength in a strenuous workout of intercessory prayer.

Reminded:how many churches started during…

CONFRONTED BY HIS GLORY: 12:6-11 An angel of the Lord: Heb. 1:14;12:22-23

Peter sound asleep, constrained to follow if this had proved to be his end/ John 21/

Nudged by the angel:

undoubtedly on Wesley’s mind when he penned:

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee…”

Led and amazed

COMFORTED BY HIS JOY In The plan of God: Jesus What really happens when we pray?

God gets the glory and we get relief: John 14;16

A church needs reminders that it’s work in the big things and small areas of our life has not been left up to our own abilities but to the calling down of power from God. [ The Puritans are great here: j.I PackerHe writes if later like minded Puritan saints:” they were crusading activists w/o a jot of sel-reliance; workers for God who depended utterly on God to work in and through them,…” pg. 25

They were great people, doing great things, calling upon a greater God…”

Prayer changes our circumstances because it first changes us; making us more receptive to His bidding and more pliable to his will for us.

It is doubtful that our individual lives will revel in the joy available until we find ourselves active in the outpouring of God’s Spirit in this needed discipline.

My plan: never to beg for your presence in a prayer meeting, never to cease demonstrating the power of a praying heart… Imagine never having to leave the premises again, starved for nourishment and deprived of a real meeting with God.

Applications: When looking good is not enough/ not connected/ copied: Itaska:, Texas

  1. Prayer is power in the hands of the powerless.
  2. Prayer is peace in the hands of the anxious
  3. Prayer is pronounced( profound) in the hands of the participant.

Done?

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