Intro. They left the hostile environment of the Council and came to the warm environment of the family. What a comfort and blessing to leave the tense atmosphere of the world and gather with the family of God. They gave a report of their experiences and the threats that had been made of the consequences of teaching or preaching anymore in the name of Jesus. What is the best thing to do when faced with threats? Pray. Note their prayer.
I. THE FIRST THING IN PRAYER IS THE ADDRESS. WHEN YOU SEND A PRAYER, WHO ARE YOU SENDING IT TO?
A. "Oh great eternal spirit of force and power in the universe."
1. That is very impersonal.
2. Jesus said when you pray say, "Our Father which art in heaven."
B. They addressed their prayer to their Lord. "O Lord, You are God, You have created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them."
1. There is not only a recognition of the One they are praying to, but the power of the One they are addressing.
2. He is the One that created this entire universe.
a. I think that if we would just stop and meditate on that fact even before we pray, that it would take much of the desperation out of our prayers.
b. Jeremiah began his prayer,
Ah Lord GOD! behold, You have made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, [and] there is nothing too hard for thee:
c. Sometimes our problems loom so large and we are so close to them that we loose sight of God.
d. The universe in which we live is extremely vast, yet something so small as your hand can block you from seeing it. Just hold your hand over your eyes.
II. IT HELPS ME TO KNOW THAT GOD KNOWS ALL ABOUT OUR PROBLEMS.
A. Speaking about need of food and clothes and the necessities of life Jesus said that your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
B. In their prayer the disciples speak of God's foreknowledge.
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
1. One thousand years ago God spoke of the very events that had just transpired.
2. Nothing catches God by surprise.
3. What a comfort to know that God is aware and knows my needs.
4. He knows what I will be needing tomorrow, next week, next year, ten years from now.
5. God is never in a panic.
6. Knowing what will be happening ten years from now, God is working now in the circumstances to prepare me for that time.
7. That is why we so many times cannot understand why God has allowed certain things to happen now in my life today.
8. That is exactly why God said, "My ways are not your ways, My ways are beyond your finding out."
9. In the context of that passage, He also asserted that His ways are far superior to your ways.
C. Not only does He have foreknowledge, but He has foreplanned.
For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
1. What had happened to Jesus was all apart of God's plan.
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
2. If you have committed your life to His will, your life is in His hands, and nothing happens to you except He has allowed it to happen, and if He has allowed it to happen, then He has a good purpose for its happening.
3. For we know that all things are working together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.
III. THEY NOW GET TO THE PETITION.
A. It is so interesting that we rush into His presence and immediately begin to cry out our problems.
1. No time in worship.
2. No time in contemplation.
3. No time in meditation.
4. No time in praise.
5. I think when the angels see us rushing toward the throne room of grace, that they turn to one another and say, they must be in deep trouble again. That seems to be the only time that many people come.
6. The psalmist told us to enter into His presence with praise, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His Name.
B. Notice that the disciples are following the pattern that Jesus suggested in the model prayer.
1. First the address; "Our Father which art in heaven."
2. The acknowledgment; "Hallowed be Thy name."
3. Seek first the kingdom of God; "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."
4. Petition; "Give us this day, our daily bread."
5. Worship and praise; "For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever."
C. The petition:
1. "Behold their threats."
2. Help us not to cave in to their threats. "Grant unto Thy servants that with all boldness, they may speak Thy word.
a. This was the very thing they were told not to do.
b. The very thing they were threatened about.
3. Stretch forth Your hand to heal; and let signs and wonders be done in the name of Your holy child Jesus.
a. The sign of the lame man walking was the issue that brought them before the council.
b. Basically they are saying, "Don't stop working because of their threats."
c. Keep doing the things you did that got us into all of this trouble.
IV. THE RESULTS OF THEIR PRAYER.
A. The place where they were praying was shaken. This was to them a demonstration of God's power.
B. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
C. They spoke the word of God with boldness.
D. I love prayer that produces results.