PRAYING THROUGH
YOUR PROBLEMS

TEXT:
Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

INTRODUCTION:
Moses prayed and God spared Israel from judgment.
Joshua prayed and God caused the sun to stand still.
Hannah prayed and God gave her a baby boy.
Solomon prayed and God gave him wisdom.
Elijah prayed and God sent fire down from Heaven.
Jonah prayed and God brought him out of the belly of the whale.
Peter prayed and God raised Dorcas from the dead.
The thief on the cross prayed and God gave him eternal life.
These Christians prayed and God set Peter free from prison.

I.  THE CHURCH HAD PROBLEMS

  A. PROBLEMS FROM WITHOUT
    1. The church was started in the most unlikely place in the world.
    2. Jesus had said begin at Jerusalem. (Acts 1:8)
    3. But, Jerusalem was hardened.
    4. They wouldnít even hear the prophets, much less these Christians.
    5. Do you remember how Jesus wept over Jerusalem?
        He said:
        Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the
        prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often
        would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen
        gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
    6. They had killed their own prophets.
    7. They had killed Jesus.
    8. Now the disciples were supposed to go there and start a church.
    9. It was a hard field to work!

  B. PROBLEMS FROM WITHIN
    1. The treasurer of the church had been stealing money out of the
        receipts and had finally committed suicide.
    2. The most prominent leader of the church had denied the faith and
        denied that he had ever known the Lord.
    3. They were commanded by the officials that they were not to teach
        or even speak at all in the name of their founder (Jesus).
    4. Hypocrisy and lying had been discovered in the membership of
        the church which threatened the power of their witness.
    5. There was racial strife which caused a murmuring in the membership
    6. Their favorite and most faithful deacon (Stephen)had been murdered.
    7. There was a government hit-man (Saul of Tarsus) who was tracking
        down individual members of the body.
    8. There was conflict over who the gospel should be given to.  Peter
        had broken with tradition and was preaching to untouchables.
    9. Now, Peter had been put in prison and Herod was planning on
        killing him to make a bunch of rich Jews happy.

  C. THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS HAD PROBLEMS
    1. As long as the devil is permitted to live the church will have problems.
    2. As God's people we must learn to pray in the midst of problems.
    3. As Godís people we must continue to minister in the midst of problems.
    4. We have to follow God's Word in overcoming problems.
    5. The devil is going to attack the church, you can be sure of that.
    6. But praise God:  "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."
    7. In the midst of problems we can keep going.
    8. In the midst of problems we can say:
        I Corinthians 15:57 "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the
        victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

II. THE CHURCH PRAYED THROUGH
     ITS PROBLEMS

  A. NOTICE WHAT THE CHURCH WAS DOING IN ACTS 12
    1. They have all of these insurmountable problems
    2. The normal pastor would have resigned and moved away.
    3. Most modern day Christians would have given up on the church.
    4. But these people had a prayer meeting.

  B. IT WAS TIME TO PRAY
    1. It wasnít time to quit.
    2. It wasnít time to run and hide.
    3. It wasnít time to disband the church.
    4. It wasnít time to fire the preacher and hire a diplomat.
    5. It was time to pray.

  C. FACING PROBLEMS REQUIRES PRAYER
    1. Iíve started two different churches.
    2. Both times I asked everyone I knew to pray.
    3. I had people offer me money and I said, "Keep your money, just pray."
    4. I knew if I turned down their money that they would know I was serious
        about asking for prayer.
    5. I knew they could give me a few thousand dollars and forget about me,
        but that wasnít what I needed.
    6. I needed prayer.
    7. I knew that God would not only supply the finances, but He would supply
        everything else if I could just get people to pray for us.
    8. When you start a new church you donít have seasoned prayer warriors in
        that church who will pray in the blessings and protection of God.
    9. We were successful because we convinced Christians to pray through our problems.
   10. It takes prayer to start a church, and it takes prayer to keep one going. What are
        you doing to keep your church going?

III. THE LORD GAVE DELIVERANCE

  A. THEY PRAYED AND GOD ANSWERED (Matt.7:7)
    1. The people prayed at John Markís motherís house and the Lord answered
        in the prison where Peter was sleeping.
    2. They prayed at one place and God answered at another place.
    3. Itís always amazed me how Christians can pray for something or someone that
        is somewhere else and expect an answer, but they donít expect an answer when
        they pray for things at home.
    4. These folks prayed for Peter off in prison, but they were shocked and amazed
        when he actually showed up at the door.
    5. We pray for Africa, and we believe God moves in Africa.
    6. We pray for India, and we believe God moves in India.
    7. We pray for those who are in the hospital and we believe that God moves on
        those people in the hospital.
    8. But, many of you are afraid to pray that God will move right now, right here where you are.

  B. ONE LITTLE GIRL HAD FAITH TO LOOK OUT THE DOOR
    1. I wonder if perhaps this little girl named Rhoda was the only one who had any faith
        at that prayer meeting that night.
    2. She went to answer the door when someone knocked.
    3. She was excited to see Peter standing there.
    4. When she told the rest of the crowd, they refused to believe her.
    5. It seems that she was the only one who prayed in faith believing.

  C. LEARN A LESSON FROM THE EARLY CHURCH
    1. When they had problems, they had a prayer meeting.
    2. You better plan on having some prayer meetings, because problems are bound to come.



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