II. What Happened When the Church Prayed Acts 12:5

Acts is the record of true church history. It is the only certified and inspired record of early church history.
I realize that idea and statement puts me in a small box. The wisdom of the world says to check all things by what is observed and corroborated by a multiplicity of people and what is scientifically provable. I’ll stay in my little box and stick with the Bible. The Bible warns me of opposition of science falsely so called. It tells me about those who scoff at Christ’s coming saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming, for all things continue as they have from the beginning.’ However, they neglect to consider the flood or even creation itself for that matter. They immediately jump on "millions of years ago" without considering the Bible. I recently was in a conversation and mentioned that the earth is only about 6,000 years old and maybe very little more. Those involved were very congenial but it appeared to be a new thought to them that the world was only that old. They have simply taken the thought of the day and not considered what the Bible said.

In our times and society, I may be considered a candidate for the looney house for saying so, but I will take the Bible as my authority.

Now that we have officially established that I belong in the looney bin, the average ‘church history’ book does not deal with the movements of the Holy Ghost in individual and church lives. The basic outline of this message has come from Dr. Andrew Telford.

This book tells us of:

-Empowering Believers
-Evangelizing the world
-Establishing of the church

The early church was a praying church. Acts 4:31, 12:5

The church was:
-Born in prayer chp. 2
-Bathed in prayer
-Battled her way through every struggle by prayer

Acts 12:5 speaks to us of the reality of real praying. Dr. James Crumpton preached on ‘Really Praying.’ I’d steal his outline and every illustration if I thought I could deliver it with half the power that he did. People say all the time, I prayed about it."

Now, don’t hold me as too judgmental or trying to be mean, but did you really pray about it? Was there more than just words? Time? Weeping? Brokenness? Sacrifice? Feet to your prayers? Desire for God to be glorified or just you to be relieved?

Now, there was certainly a need for relief in our text tonight. And they did really pray.

Not only was Peter in prison, but James had been killed with the sword and the whole company of believers were threatened.

Long and fervent prayer was offered to God. They prayed earnestly and persistently. They prayed until God’s power was released. They prayed until their foes were defeated and their witness was vindicated.

I. The Cause of their Praying.
Why did they pray?
They were driven to pray.

1. They were in Grave Danger.
A crisis loomed. James had been killed and Peter was in jail awaiting his execution. Persecution was bearing down on them and they needed to pray. It was indeed a tough time for these men who had left all to follow Jesus.

2. There were Great Demands on them.

Those disciples at Jerusalem had been entrusted with a great testing. They had the double difficulty of standing up for Jesus Christ when they were being threatened, persecuted, and their leadership was being martyred. One had been martyred and another was in prison.

The cause of Christ must go forward despite whatever circumstances may come along. Illus. - Some people get sick and can go to work no matter what. Literally some of them have gone to work and then drop dead at their jobs. But we consider it little to miss church over a hurt toe.

Go ahead and name the difficulty and see if it holds water as an argument to be unfaithful to Christ. -disappointment, offended by someone, neglected by the preacher, hurt at church before, financially tight, perceived failure in previous efforts....

And then remember that these saints meet at night to pray for Peter to be loosed from prison when their even being identified with him could well mean their own imprisonment and death.

They must not, they cannot let down the testimony of the gospel.
They have been called to tell the story of redeeming love, and they must get on with the job.

I. The Cause of their Praying.
1. They were in Grave Danger.
2. There were Great Demands on them.
3. There was God’s Divine constraint.

They needed God’s help. God was waiting and wanted to help them.
They knew in a crisis to turn to God.

Illus. - After observing what happened on 9-11 and the wake of Katrina, I wonder what it will take for us to turn to the Lord. I have been told that WWII brought a sense of solemness to many and some were saved. Praise the Lord, but we are a hard society now and what it takes for God to get our attention may be more than we can imagine. The day is coming when even the events of the Great Tribulation will bring only cursing and shaking of men’s fists in the face of God.

We would always be a lot better off to humbly submit to the Lord and seek Him.
God was their first and finest and final resort.
Prayer brought the answer. They knew that God could intervene.
God has the answer, and it is ours when we pray.

I. The Cause of their Praying.
1. They were in Grave Danger.
2. There were Great Demands on them.
3. There was God’s Divine constraint.
II. The Character of their Praying.

1. It was Concerned Praying.
It poured from a heart of compassion for Peter and for Christ.
-Their leader was in prison.
He was their companion and friend. (We’d be more motivated to pray for Josh and Caleb Thompson if we considered them coworkers and friends.)

-Their community was in peril. If Peter is killed, what would happen? Evil and wickedness would have more of a grip than before.

-Their city was in plight. If Peter is slain, that voice for the Lord would be silenced. The Gospel message was at stake. These people then offered long and fervent prayer. Oh, how they prayed!

There was a need for prayer as great as any had ever been.
There has never been a day when prayer is more needed than our day.

-Collective praying
-Concise praying - specific and intelligent
-Continual praying - without ceasing I Thess. 5:17
-Confident praying - just believing God

God’s servant was released. Seemingly insurmountable problems were overcome. Let us expect to hear the unusual.

I. The Cause of their Praying.
1. They were in Grave Danger.
2. There were Great Demands on them.
3. There was God’s Divine constraint.
II. The Character of their Praying.
1. It was Concerned Praying.
2. It was Continuous Praying.

They prayed long. Some prayers are answered immediately and some must await an answer. The parable in Luke 18 gives us the lesson of praying importunately.

Luke 11:5-10 tell us of the friend who came at night to ask bread. If somebody came knocking on my door at 2:00 in the morning I might come to the door with my pistol. Then if I realized it was Brother B.J. just wanting 2 chocolate doughnuts I might become less than friendly and tell him to go home and we’d feed him tomorrow. Then if he knocked again I’d be tempted to use that gun. Then if he knocked again I’d probably begin to cry. And when he knocked again, I’d just consider him crazy with hunger pains and give him something to eat.

Luke 11:9 "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

So, let us pray until we get an answer!

Some have waited for years for God to work. Let us have the faith and courage to continue to ask.

I. The Cause of their Praying.

1. They were in Grave Danger.

2. There were Great Demands on them.

3. There was God’s Divine constraint.

II. The Character of their Praying.

1. It was Concerned Praying.

2. It was Continuous Praying.

3. It was Corporate Praying.

Notice that it was ‘the church’ that prayed.

"Group praying" is more prominent in Acts than individual praying.

United praying marked the early church. Every revival has been preceded by prayer groups. We ought get together to pray.

III. The Consequence of their Praying.

Pray brings results.

1. There was an Awakening. :6-7

Many a sleeping Peter needs to be awakened. The kindling of cold hearts will take prayer.

-Sometimes I search for the missing ingredient. I want to say and do that right. I ask myself, what else can I do in ministering for the Lord? Let me give this simple thought tonight - There will be no awakening without prayer.

2. There was an Astonishment. :16

When Peter walked in, they were astonished! To be honest with you, I might have been slap scared.

Answers to prayers will amaze and humble us.

3. There was Advancement. :24

If you want to advance, then pray.

The devil was against any advancement. :20-23

Do we want the Word and work of God to grow in our lives?

Then we must pray:













I think we miss that quite often. Daniel, Joshua, Isaiah and others united with the people in confessing their sins.

Here is a message tonight to do something with. Habits are often considered bad, but prayer would be a good habit.