Steadfast in Prayer
Act 2:44-47 “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Apostolic passion has nothing to do with personality. It is something you determine to have and get ahold of with a ‘death grip.’ We should feel strongly about this because it’s the truth that we need to fuel our lives, our prayer lives and every other aspect of our lives.
Passion must accompany your time with God, otherwise you will get bored. It just becomes a ritual, without meaning or power.
Johnny (5 years old) was very passionate about chocolate chip cookies. His mother took him to the grocery store and made the mistake of going down the chocolate chip cookie aisle and Johnny decided he had to have some. His mother said, ‘No, Johnny.’ Johnny didn’t take no for an answer and started making his demands known to everyone in the store. Finally, as they were in the checkout line Johnny said, ‘Mom, in the Name of Jesus Christ, I want a cookie.’ Five different people bought Johnny cookies that day!
This is a silly story, but a great illustration of passionate desire for something. If we choose to be passionate in our relationship with Jesus and passionate about the things He cares about, we will start to see something happen during our prayers. We will be changed and the world around us will change as well.
Luke 11:1 “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” The disciples wanted to know how to pray with power like Jesus did.
Luke 11:2-8 “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”
This is prayer, asking for something for someone else.
Jesus is teaching about prayer, not the nature of God. He’s not saying you gotta bug God, he’s talking about how we ought to behave when we pray. God isn’t our servant. Lord, if it is Your will, if it doesn’t happen today, I’m going to keep coming and asking. Sometimes, you get yes, or no, or maybe or wait.
You want to know the will of God? Read the Bible. Why don’t we pray more for the salvation of souls? Our pastor is the result of a faithful brother’s prayer. Eight months he prayed for his little brother and when he finally showed up at church all those prayers hit him at the door.
Luke 11:9-13 “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. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the things of heaven. Luke 12:32 “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
It is God’s will that what’s going on in heaven should be going on in earth.
There are times that the enemy is left around to help us learn how to fight. There will always be something to fight, something to challenge us, something to overcome. We have to grow in our faith. God is it your will? We’ve got the battle of faith going on in our minds. We can’t give up too soon.
Enroll in the school of prayer. Lesson #1: Keep Praying.
James 5:13-15 “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
Brian was a bit strange. Pastor prayed for Brian all the time. One day, he saw Brian and the man started shouting at him, ‘Get out of my head! I had a dream about you. You were in a room full of light and I was in a room full of darkness and I couldn’t get to you.’
When you pray with passion, you get into the realm of eternity and you forget about time. Pastor prayed for souls. He prayed for a woman named Di and one day she came to church and said, ‘You! Get out of my head! I saw you in a dream preaching to me.’ The words that she repeated were exactly what Pastor had been praying for her.
Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have. People of action are prayer warriors. ‘Watch and pray!’ Be like Jesus and go a little further and pray. Jesus prayed 3 times that the cup would be taken from him. After the third time, Jesus was done. He had prayed and He was ready to face what was ahead.
The boy who fell asleep during Paul’s preaching fell out the window and out of the church. (There’s several sermons you could take from that.) The boy broke his neck, but someone was there to pray for him.
It’s not the Acts of the Apostles, it’s the Acts of the Holy Ghost. The Apostles were the tools that God used to accomplish His mighty works. It’s not the preacher, it’s not the person, it’s the God that we worship. Jesus is the One who heals. We just pray in His name.
When you’re eating a good steak, you don’t comment on the talents and abilities of the fork! You just enjoy your steak. We, who pray, are simply forks. It is God who manipulates the fork and God who gives the steak to a hungry soul.
Acts 1:14 “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
Pentecost didn’t come until the people started praying. Mary, the mother of Jesus, and all the rest, followers of Jesus, prayed for 7 days and seven nights. THEN, there was a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind!
Don’t pray in vain repetitions. Prayer is not measured by how long you pray. It’s not a canned bunch of words that you write and read. It is not scripted. Sometimes, you can’t even use the language you know and you have to pray in the Spirit. If we’re going to have people get the Holy Ghost, we need to give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry to others. If we are going to see miracles, we have to pray without ceasing. Passionate prayer needs to be a lifestyle. The Apostles prayed until they had an earthquake. Chains and shackles are holding people down right now. We’ve got to pray until those shackles are loosed!
From a Sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.