📝 = Fill in the Blank on Bulletin
“It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.”
“When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.”
“After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.”
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
“The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.”
“Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.”
“Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.”
“They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.”
“Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.””
Verse 5 again…
“So Peter was kept in prison, but THE CHURCH was earnestly praying to God for him.”
Notice now that it didn’t say that just the pastor was praying. Notice now that it doesn’t say that just a particular group of people were praying, but rather instead it SAYS, "THE CHURCH” AS A WHOLE, AS A BODY, AS ONE LIVING ORGANISM WAS PRAYING.
I can’t but help to wonder, what type of lies has the enemy been telling you lately about prayer?
Lies such as, "You’re too busy to pray,” or "You know you don’t pray like so and so. You’re doing that prayer thing all wrong. Does God really listen to your prayers? You sound so foolish when you pray. You’re wasting your time. Just stop praying.” This morning, I want to talk to you from this subject:
WHAT THE ENEMY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT PRAYER
Here are something’s that the enemy doesn’t want you to know about prayer,
📝 God LISTENS to our prayers.
📝 God RESPONDS to our prayers.
📝 God is REVEALED by our prayers.
This is evident in the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. When the time came, Jesus told Mary in John 11:40,
"Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”
“And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.””
God HEARS, God RESPONDS, and God is REVEALED by our prayers. The same was true for Peter. God heard the churches prayer, God responded to the churches prayer, and God revealed His power and His might by miraculously setting Peter free! This is what the enemy doesn’t want you to know about prayer, but I say to you today…
📝 God wants to HEAR from you in prayer.
It’s not about you praying like so and so. You’re not doing the prayer thing all wrong. You’re not wasting your time when you pray. God wants to hear from you in prayer.
Why else would God say in Jeremiah 33:3,
“‘CALL TO ME, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”
God says, "CALL TO ME…CALL TO ME.” In other words….
📝 Prayer is about MAKING THE CALL.
The Psalmist understood this and said in Psalm 138:3,
“When I CALLED, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.”
“Because he turned his ear to me, I WILL CALL ON HIM as long as I live.”
The New Living Translation puts that verse like this…
📝 "Because he bends down to listen, I WILL PRAY as long as I have breath!”
Because he bends down to listen, I WILL MAKE THE CALL as long as I have breath, I WILL MAKE THE CALL.
“I will answer them BEFORE THEY EVEN CALL to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I WILL GO AHEAD AND ANSWER THEIR PRAYERS!”
***Lean in right here. Peter was in prison, locked up between two guards, James had just been killed for the faith, things didn’t look good for Peter by any means, BUT THE CHURCH KEPT ON PRAYING. THE CHURCH STILL MADE THE CALL.****
The first church teaches us that even when things aren’t looking good by any means, we still must MAKE THE CALL. Regardless of how bad it may look, regardless of how bad it may sound, you still must look to your God and MAKE THE CALL! Don’t allow anything to imprison your faith. Don’t allow anything to imprison your prayer life—MAKE THE CALL!
Make the call for your peace. Make the call for your joy. Make the call for your healing. Make the call for your deliverance. Make the call for your sons. Make the call for your daughters. Make the call for those who aren’t born yet!
Don’t allow guilt, shame, doubt, unbelief, comparison, or WHAT YOU SEE to stop you from making the call. MAKE THE CALL!
📝 Instead of allowing your situation to OVERWHELM your prayer life, allow your prayer life to overwhelm your situation.
When you leave this place I pray that your confession will be,
📝 Nothing can stop me from PRAYINGto my God, and nothing can stop my God from LISTENING.
Understand this church…
The enemy wants to complicate prayer so that you won’t spend anytime in prayer.
📝 Prayer isn’t meant to be COMPLICATED it’s meant to be CELEBRATED.
It’s meant to be celebrated because we get to spend time with the Creator of it all. We get to converse with the God of the universe, and the God of the universe gets to converse with us.
📝 We pray from a place of RELATIONSHIP not RELIGION.
📝 We pray from a place of WE GET TO PRAY, not that we HAVE TO PRAY.
The enemy wants to complicate prayer so that you won’t COMMUNICATE in prayer, because that’s what prayer is in it’s simplest form.
📝 Prayer is a two way conversation between you and God. Prayer consist of you TALKING to God as well as you LISTENING to God.
Here comes the enemy in your ear again, "Who has time for all of that? You have this going on, you have that going on. Prayer is just another thing to add to your schedule.” But here’s what the enemy doesn’t want you to know about prayer…
📝 None of us are too busy for a God Who’s always OPEN, Who’s always AVAILABLE.
📝 You can pray ANYTIME, ANY PLACE, ANYWAY you desire.
You can pray anyway you desire. Prayer doesn’t have to be deep. It just has to be from the heart.
“Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.”
“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’”
““But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’”
“I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.””
You can pray ANYTIME, ANY PLACE, ANYWAY you desire.
This is how the scripture is able to tell us in 2 Thessalonians 5:17
“pray without ceasing,”
I Thessalonians 5:17
“Never stop praying.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Prayer isn’t limited to a particular place. Prayer isn’t limited to a particular time. Prayer isn’t limited to a particular posture. Prayer is unrestricted just like our unrestricted God.
We call places like this convenient stores.
📝 God made prayer CONVENIENT not COMPLICATED because He desires a relationship with you.
Why else would He tell us in Jeremiah 29:11,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
“In those days WHEN YOU PRAY, I WILL LISTEN.”
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
Satan wants to do all that he can to complicate your prayer life because…
📝 Prayer UNLEASHES God, but RESTRAINS the enemy. Prayer MOVESthe hand of God, but BINDS the hand of the Satan.
Case & point 2 Kings 6:15-16,
“When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha. “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!””
2 Kings 6:15-16
“And Elisha PRAYED, and said, “Lord, I PRAY, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
II Kings 6:17
“So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha PRAYED to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.”
II Kings 6:18
Prayer UNLEASHES God, but RESTRAINS the enemy. Prayer MOVESthe hand of God, but BINDS the hand of the Satan.
Jesus said it like this in Matthew 18:18,
“Truly I tell you, whatever you BIND ON EARTH will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18
The bottom line and the main takeaway from today’s message is this…
📝 PRAYER STILL CHANGES THINGS.
📝 With the INPUT of prayer every OUTPUT is subject to change.
It doesn’t matter who had it OUT for you. It doesn’t matter what had it OUT for you. With the INPUT of prayer every OUTPUT is subject to change.
“And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.””
“Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?”
“Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.”
“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ””
“So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.”
It was the INPUT of prayer, that changed the OUTPUT of the situation.
Notice now in verse 13 Moses prayed and said,
"Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ”” Exodus 32:13
In this moment, Moses teaches us the key to effective prayer….
📝 Pray the WORD.
Why pray the Word??? Isaiah 55:10-11 tells us,
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, SO IS MY WORD that goes out from my mouth: IT WILL NOT RETURN TO ME EMPTY, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
“I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified YOUR WORD above all Your name.”
📝 Don’t just READ THE WORD, you must take time to PRAY THE WORD.
“In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.””
2 Kings 20:1
“Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord,”
2 Kings 20:2
““Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”
2 Kings 20:3
“Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I HAVE HEARD YOUR PRAYER and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord.”
2 Kings 20:4-5
“I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’ ””
2 Kings 20:6
It was the INPUT of prayer, that changed the OUTPUT of the situation. The same was true for Peter while he was in prison, locked up between two guards. It was the INPUT of prayer from the church, that changed the OUTPUT of Peter’s situation.
God LISTENS to our prayers.
God RESPONDS to our prayers.
God is REVEALED by our prayers.
When you pray Heaven listens! When you pray Angels move! When you pray His Kingdom comes! When you pray demons tremble! When you pray demons are terrified. When you pray God is glorified. When you pray mountains move, AND THAT’S WHAT THE ENEMY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT PRAYER.
When Moses didn’t know which way to turn, he prayed. When Esther’s people were facing annihilation, she prayed. When Joshua’s back was against the wall, he prayed. When Hagar and her son ran out of water in the hot desert, she prayed. When Elijah found himself going to war with the prophets of Baal, he prayed. When Jehoshaphat was facing an invasion, he prayed. It got so good to the prophetess Anna that she never left the temple, and prayed all day and night long!
When you pray Heaven listens! When you pray Angels move! When you pray His Kingdom comes! When you pray in His Name, when you pray His Word, demons tremble. Just like Peter’s situation, when you pray, whatever prison had you captive has to let you go. I’m talking about prisons of lust. I’m talking about prisons of greed. I’m talking about prisons of bitterness. Prisons of low self esteem. Prisons of generational curses. Prisons of pain and trauma. Prisons of regrets, guilt, and shame have to let you go free.
The devil is a liar! You know what to pray—PRAY HIS WORD.
You have time to pray—PRAY ANYTIME , ANY PLACE, ANYWAY you desire.
You don’t have to pray like so and so—He’s in love with your voice. He’s in love with your personality. You just have to make THE CALL!
Call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things that you knoweth not. I’ll show you who you really are. I’ll show you who I am. I’ll show you what I have for you. I’ll show you why the enemy never wanted you to pray. I’ll show you why this door closed but why this door opened. I’ll show you why I said no here, but yes over there. I’ll show you why I allowed this, but didn’t allow that. You just have to make the call.
Nothing can stop me from PRAYING to my God, and nothing can stop my God from LISTENING. That’s why from this day forward, I WILL MAKE THE CALL. I’m calling on the God of Jacob. I’m calling on the God of Moses. I’m calling on the God of Mary. I’m calling on the God of David. I’m calling on the God of my mama. I’m calling on the God of my daddy. I’m calling on the God of my ancestors. I’m calling on the God of my forefathers, because He’s the same God!
REFLECTION QUESTION: WHAT’S STOPPING YOU FROM MAKING THE CALL?