When you Pray

Reasons...

  • "I don't know how..."

  • "I feel unworthy..."

  • "God doesn't hear me..."

  • "I feel like I'm talking to the wall..."

  • "I'm too busy..."

  • "I'm not disciplined..."

  • "I don't want to bother God..."

  • "I'm not sure it will change anything..."

 

All of those reasons are rooted in doubt.

 There are plenty of Christians who believe in God, but don't believe in the power of prayer.

 

Acts 12:1-16 [MSG], That's when King Herod got it into his head to go after some of the church members.  He murdered James, John's brother.  When he saw how much it raised his popularity ratings with the Jews, he arrested Peter...had him thrown in jail, putting four squads of four soldiers each to guard him.  He was planning a public lynching after Passover.

 

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...Peter slept...and there were guards at the door keeping their eyes on the place.  Herod was taking no chances!

 

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 let's get out of here."  Peter followed him, but didn't believe it was really an angel - 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.  That's when Peter realized it was no dream.  "I cant' believe it - this really happened!  The Master sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's vicious little production and the spectacle the Jewish mob was looking forward to."

 

12-14 Still shaking his head, amazed, he went to Mary's house, the Mary who was John Mark's 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 voice - Peter's voice! - 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 wouldn't believe her, dismissing her, dismissing her report.  "You're crazy," they said.  She stuck by her story, insisting.  They still wouldn't believe her...All this time poor Peter was standing out in the street, knocking away.  Finally they opened up and saw him - and went wild!

 

1.  Cut ourselves some slack

 Who's Who...

  • Abraham  [Gen. 17:16-17]

  • Sarah  [Gen. 16:1-4, 18:13]

  • Gideon  [Judg. 1:14-15, 36-40]

  • Zechariah  [Lk. 1:18-20]

  • John the Baptist  [Mt. 11:2-3]

  • Peter  [Mt. 14:31]

  • Thomas  [John 20:24-28]

 

2.  Remember God is gracious

 "Thankfully, God is bigger than our doubts."

 3.  Don't become a settler

 Romans 4:18-20 [NASB], In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "So shall your descendants be." 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able to perform.

 

4.  Move forward in faith

 2 Corinthians 5:7 [NIV], We live by faith, not by sight.

 1 Peter 3:12 [ESV], For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. 

 James 5:16 [ESV], The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

 1 John 5:14-15 [NIV], This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him.

 "It's impossible to grow stronger in our faith without growing stronger in what God has spoken."

 

5.  Get a room

 Matthew 6:6 [NKJV], "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." 

 

6.  Quit being so vague

Terri Smith