A Shared Focus

Date Preached: August 26, 2018
From the Series: Community
Scripture: Acts 2:42-47
Notes: Download PDF
Speaker: Gary Combs


In the book of Acts, Luke described the “authentic community” of the first century church. He said they were marked by four “devotions.” They were: a shared faith, a shared family, a shared food, and a shared focus. We can experience this authentic community when we pursue these four devotions. Today, we’re going to focus on the 4th devotion, “A Shared Focus.”


Below is an automated transcript of the message:

Thanks for listening to the podcast from gary combs in the preaching team at wilson community church in wilson, north carolina. Check us out on the web at wcc nc dot award for more and now here’s the sermon.

All right good morning church it’s good to see all of you now and in your seats as was mentioned earlier you might note that you have two invite cards in your seat as you came in we’re starting a new series next week and we’re going to be talking about how love and worship are really pretty much the same thing and how one affects the other and we will be talking about worshipping god the five love languages gary small wrote a book about this some years ago to help us love one another recognizing that we have different types of ways of expressing love and different kinds of ways of receiving love which was very insightful for those of us who are in human relationships and marriage and in other places but we thought we might apply that same thinking to how we relate to god and so that’ll be a great series to invite people it’s a five week series starting next sunday so enough said about that

we’re concluding this series today talking about community we’ve been over the past few weeks talking about the four devotions of the first century church that really turned first of all the church upside down it turned people’s lives inside out and upside down and then they begin to go out into the world and affect the world so that the world was affected some said the world was turned upside down by these early christians and is god the same god today that he was then amen he is

he’s the same god but he’s looking for people that would be devoted and i wonder if that’s us could we be that devoted and we’re talking about that today we’re concluding by talking about this devotion of prayer this early church had a shared focus they were focused on prayer

now when you visit another country or even another part of a country another region in this country you’ll notice several unique features you’ll notice what they believe you’ll notice what they eat we’ve talked about some of these things whether they’re friendly or whether they’re not so friendly or not so outgoing every region every culture has these characteristics but they also have a unique characteristic in what language they speak or how they pronounce their words or their dialect and you can often tell where people are from by this

when i first go on a mission trip i try to at least learn how to say hello how are you and where is the bathroom you know important things like that and so if you go to guatemala right it’s spanish “Hola, como estas?” you learn how to say hello how are you in indonesia “Halo apa kabar?” you say that you know hello how are you and they say back “Bike, Bike” and this means good good in rwanda which is the bordering country to uganda we often land there when we travel the official language of rwanda is french so you say “Bonjour, comment allez-vous?” that’s what you say there and in uganda i was not sure how to say in fact to this day i still don’t know how to say hello how are how are you and you got it now in uganda the official language is english but in the area we go in Kisoro it’s not a very highly educated area and the people speak a tribal tongue called Rufumbira. i’m going to the churches and we first started going several years ago the first time i go all the christians at the churches were greeting one another with “Yesu ashimwe!” and so I learned that. so if i see somebody i say “Yesu ashimwe” and they would say back to me “Ahimbazwe” and it means like jesus be praised “Yesu ashimwe” jesus be praised and then they say back to you let him be praised very much “Ahimbazwe” like a whole lot more so that’s all i knew about how to greet people so then i’m with Pastor George whoever and i’m in the town i’m in the in the area of cassara where it’s not the church’s i’m greeting everyone with “Yesu ashimwe” and they’re looking back at me like who are you right because i’m not saying hello how are you i’m saying jesus be praised to everybody i meet and george is looking me like you go pastor you are something man jesus be praised to every lost person you talk to yeah so they haven’t taught me how to say hello how are you?

Maybe it would be better if we never learned how to say hello how are you and all we knew how to say in america was jesus be praised and just let people deal with it hello how are you jesus be praised yeah that would be great maybe we need to start doing that

you know the same was true in the first century church they had these marks of culture and the culture of the christian community this new community that was birthed because of the resurrection of jesus this jesus community they had a shared faith they had a shared fellowship they had a shared food we’ve talked about all this but the head of a shared focus was the focus of prayer. They had a shared language and so that’s the mark of any culture this new culture emerged this new kingdom was birthed and it’s the kingdom of god and we’ve been talking about what it looked like and the devotions of it.

What now? How are you doing in this area the area of prayer? What is prayer it’s talking to god and listening to god because god is alive and it’s a two way conversation, and even more than that, i would say that the mark of this first century church was not solitary prayer, which is great, praying just you and god. But the mark of that community was praying together like a lot, just like praying together. And so when we’re talking about it this morning, that’s, what i’m talking about primarily there are other times that we’ve talked about prayer, but primarily i’m talking about the mark of this first century church that they prayed together with one another.

How are you doing? Do you pray married couples? Do you pray with your spouse? Do you pray together? Do you pray with your children? The are times of the day that are very much appropriate for that do you pray with your friends do you pray with your family do you pray with other believers in homes and in public places are you devoted to praying together as god’s family? Are you devoted to it because the first century church was that god is the same god today he’s looking for people that would be devoted to prayer

in the book of acts luke described what was a really community a new community it’s the community of christ he said they were marked by four devotions and today we’re going to look at this fourth one this shared focus and as we look we’ll see three steps to having a shared focus of prayer we are going to be looking guess what at the same passage that we have looked at for four weeks now like pastor could you find another text? No no i cannot not until i finish this and we’re looking through a new lens today we’re looking through the lens of prayer what prayer looked like every week we’ve looked at the same passage through a different lens now we’re looking at it through the lens of prayer would you join me as we read this passage again

and they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers and awe came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles and all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. and day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes. They received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising god and having favor with all the people. And the lord added to their number, day by day. Those who were being saved. This is god’s word.

How to share the focus of prayer in christ’s community here’s the first grow up together in talking with god i toyed with or i wrestled with whether not this message should be less of a how to and more of the benefits of and so you’ll hear me kind of going back and forth perhaps but we landed on how to

when we were studying this earlier in the week that how do you grow up in prayer in other words how do you grow when you are a new christian and the other christians say let’s pray and you go oh no what is that how do you grow up in prayer? This is the question i’m asking and how did the early church grow up in prayer so i want you to look at a couple things with me and then we’ll try to answer that question how do you grow to maturity and prayer together how do you do that? How does that happen?

Notice first of all they were devoted right that’s the word devoted they were devoted to four devotions they were focused on devoted which means to keep your face forward not taking your eyes off of it focused and then notice they devoted themselves plural themselves so they did it together They devoted themselves so they’re praying together, and then notice that it says to the prayers so there’s, all kinds of praying, going on there’s, all kinds of prayers, there’s, all types of prayers What was going on here now, what is prayer?

Billy graham said that prayer is a spiritual communication between man and god, a two way relationship in which man should not only talk to god, but also listen to god, that’s, a good definition, that’s, the definition of communication and that’s what prayer is prayer is talking and listening to god we do better at talking than we do listening. And notice, as i pointed out, it’s, it’s, prayers, plural, they prayed all kind of prayers in all kinds of situations.

Look what it says in ephesians. Paul was teaching to the church in Ephesus , and, he says, pray in the spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests, all kind of prayers should be going on in all kind of occasions. I don’t know if we should pray at this occasion. Paul said pray on all occasions, pray all the time, he says.

In first thessalonians pray without ceasing I was discipling a new believer, and sometimes when you’re going on a trip, it’s, good to get a new believer in the car with you. So i took him along with me. The two of us were driving somewhere a couple hours away I mean, we were coming back, it was late at night, and he brought up something and he kind of had tears in his eyes, and i said, well, let’s, pray about it right now, and i just started to pray, and he reached over and about snatched the steering wheel out of my hand. Now, so what’s going on, man, he goes, well, i thought you’d get ready. Close your eyes. You know, kind of freaked him out, and i said, and we’ll teach you something right now. Do you get what you can pray with your eyes open? He goes, get out of here! He didn’t know you could do that. Pray with your eyes open, it’s better when you’re driving, to pray with your eyes open note to self, but also officer, i was praying that’s, why i ran off the road. Good luck with that.

The disciples learned to pray how did they learn to pray they learned from jesus because jesus didn’t always pray those memorized jewish prayers you know the mark of the jewish religion was they had memorized prayers now they could pray personally we see that in the scripture but they also had prayers that they had memorized and so the disciples had kind of grown up with those memorized prayers but this is true

in the muslim community is islam the prayer that they pray five times a day is the same prayer it’s a memorized prayer you know one of the startling encounters that people from other world religions have with the christian community is we talk to god like we have a personal relationship with Him and we don’t speak in memorized prayers so the disciples when they heard jesus pray you pray like the father’s in the room with us would you teach us to pray

It says in Luke chapter 11 now jesus was praying in a certain place and when he’d finished one of his disciples said to him lord teach us to pray john the baptist is teaching his guys how to pray would you teach us how to pray like you right they want to know how to pray so where did the apostles learn how to pray from jesus they learned how to pray from jesus so he taught them the our father now the lord’s prayers, not really the lord’s prayer. Some people call it the our father. Some people call it the lord’s prayer it’s, the lord’s model, prayer it’s, his teaching prayer

now notice when he prays, he doesn’t pray in the singular . He doesn’t say, my father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give me my daily bread, he doesn’t say that, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me and say that all throughout it’s in the plural, why is that jesus expected his disciples to pray together. He taught them a model prayer on how to pray together. Consider that so i want you all to pray together as the father’s kids to the father, he was teaching them how to pray together with other believers, not give me, give us, not lead me, lead us. Not my father, our father like that.

Think about it. How did you learn to talk? Did you go to baby talking school? Who here went to that? I’d like to find out about that. We have a couple of grandkids who can’t talk yet. We’re working on that with them we send them off to baby talking school now, there’s no such thing, right? How did you learn to talk, hanging out with your parents and siblings and uncles and aunts? There was no school, you just kind of heard them talking, and little by little, you picked up phrases so that you not only learned the language, but you pronounced the words the same way they do. Same dialect, same phrasing, the same emphasis on different levels. You learn how to do that. That’s how babies learn to talk from hanging out with older people who already know how to talk, how will you learn to pray? It’s, not hard. By hanging out with older christians, praying with older christians.

You can tell a lot about a person by how they pray. You can tell a lot. There’s no baby talking class in church. We often offer how to pray classes and how to pray, sermons and so forth, and they’re helpful. But the best way here, listen to me. The best way to learn to pray is to pray together, and the older christians, just by hearing them, you’ll learn, oh, he just about prayed heaven down on our heads just now. How did that happen? What in the world just happened? She must talk to god a lot listening. How familiar she sounds. Listen, oh, my goodness, you ever pray with somebody like that? They tend not to just pray their laundry laundry list. We’re baby christians. We pray like babies. Give me my cookie give me my milk change my diaper. If babies could talk, they would say these things that’s how baby christians pray they’re overwhelmed with their need. Let you grow up in christ. Yeah, you begin to pray praises and thanks and i want to know you. I want to be with you. I love you, you begin and then you begin to see people around and you begin to pray for them. And you almost forget to pray for yourself as you grow because, you know, god’s got it anyway, and you’ve already given it to him

the disciples learned to pray from jesus had to the church and acts chapter two learn to pray, they learned from the disciples who learned from jesus and those of us today who have grown up knowing how to pray, learning how to pray. They learned it from the disciples who taught the first century church, who taught the next century to talk there’s, this long and broken chain of disciples who have taught the next generation.

When i was a little kid, they used to have this thing on wednesday night called prayer meeting. In this old country church, i went to which, i don’t know, probably on a good sunday might have had fifty. But it was so small, it felt packed just a little bit of a building, and they had these you go up on the platform like this , and there was a door over there and a door over there, and i thought all churches were supposed to be built that way. And if you went over there in that door that’s where the men were praying on sunday on wednesday night, now on sunday morning, that was where the kids went to sunday school. But that was men’s prayer and that over there was women’s prayer, and they had nothing for children like there was no children’s nursery they just carried them babies in there. They didn’t have anything for kids and they had a bathroom in the building outside this wooden thing kind of a half moon cut in it.

I go in that room i mean i’m seven eight years old this is where we come in my mom and say there’s where you go gary go in that room and these old men these old farmers with these old callously big old hands they take hold of my hand and they’d start praying heaven down i started learning how to pray from these old guys they weren’t that highly educated but they prayed in king james english because it’s all they knew thou art god they talked like they would be talking to you one way boy they started praying thees and thous started coming out that’s how i learned to pray so if i break into king james here in a minute forgive me

how did they learn to pray from jesus they handed it to the next generation from the ones who learned from jesus to the next ones who learned from ones who learned from jesus and on and on and on jesus taught us how to pray if you trace it all the way back because he has a relationship with the father and he put away all formal prayers and all memorized prayers and he says you talk to god because he’s your father and listen when he talks back how will you learn to pray get in a small group where you can practice how to pray you need each other to grow up in prayers

in a recent small group one of our members said i’m still getting used to you guys in prayer she said you do these kind of i don’t know off the cuff kind of prayers you know it’s like you know i’m still getting used to it because where i grew up we kind of had memorized prayers and so i said let’s try popcorn prayer like popcorn right you know at first it goes pop, pop, pop and then when it stops popping I will close and you should have heard her how many prayers she prayed that night because she was just kind of like okay I can pray one sentence at a time then i can think about it and then here’s what it did it kind of clamped down some of the expert praying people right because we end up we just praying and praying which can intimidate young christians or new christians people who haven’t learned how to pray so community groups think about this shepherds of Community Groups think about this as you’re praying be aware of the ones that are still learning to pray make room for them and then little by little do different things don’t pray the same way pray all kinds of prayers i don’t know if popcorn prayers was in the bible or not I might have made that one up, but pray all kinds of prayers. i love to watch young christians grow in their prayer life.

here’s number two that’s pretty sweet, when the benefit of praying together causes you to grow up together. And as you pray together, here’s, the second one, pray together as the family of god, there’s this thing there’s this side benefit of praying together that makes you feel more like family, because it’s hard to pray without being real. Now some of us are good at it. We knew how to pray the weather. God, you’re good, save all the people in the world bring good things down on the world and stop war and, like, you know how to pray, good things like that. Some people know how to do that it’s like god’s gonna be bored sick with that prayer because you’re just making up platitudes to make people feel like you know what you’re talking about

Pray what’s in your heart because god only knows what’s in your heart then if you do that in front of other people then they know what’s in your heart guess what happens you start growing closer together like a family now i’m scared to do that that’s good it means you’re doing the right thing because the old nature wants to stay in control pray together as the family of god they devoted themselves that prayed together

Verse forty four all who believed were together and had all things in common that word common we talked about that a couple of weeks ago common which is where we get the word Koinonia from it means common together which is translated fellowship we’ve heard this saying before it was first coined by patrick peyton an irish evangelist he said a family that prays together stays together yeah yeah i’ve heard that one family that prays together stays together that’s a good one peyton

Acts one fourteen all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer together with the women and mary the mother of jesus and his brothers who was all these who was the disciples they were in the upper room that’s how acts starts out they see jesus ascend and he says go back to jerusalem go back to jerusalem and wait for the gift of the holy spirit when the holy spirit comes upon you you will receive power to be my witnesses in jerusalem judea samaria and to the earth and so they go back so that was on the day of his ascension was forty days after passover we call that time of the year easter for forty days jesus walked among them and appeared many times over a forty day period on the fortieth day he ascended and then they prayed how long well we have to do the math because it doesn’t say they prayed how long it says they prayed until the day of pentecost and on pentecost they came rolling out and preaching so from ascension to pentecost we know that pentecost means fifty days from passover so pentecost subtract ascension is ten days that’s how you get it some people go gary where you keep getting that ten days that’s how you get you have to do math to get it

so they prayed for ten days together the disciples with jesus’ mother mary and and all those other brothers there’s a whole bunch of them and all these women and brothers together there were one hundred twenty of them in this upper room for ten days and the holy spirit falls on them and they come rolling out there with Peter preaching and 3000 people got saved. Three thousand boom. And then when we come into chapter two, that’s the church. We’re talking about that’s, just growing like crazy. Now you’ve heard what the old preacher said about this before, right? They prayed for ten days, Peter preached for 10 minutes, and three thousand people got saved.

We get that backwards. We pray for ten minutes and try to go out and do god’s work for ten days and wonder why we don’t get any results. We got it upside down, they prayed for ten days, then they preach for ten minutes, and god brought the increase. We get it upside down, but they prayed together. They were in one accord one accord is translating the greek word, one minded singular of thinking.

Now, i’ve noticed, you know, as I mentioned this earlier, that our church loves missions don’t we church that we loved to go and share the gospel with people because god has commanded us to take the gospel to the nations. i’ve noticed when i go on some of these trips that those people in these countries that don’t have all the wealth and all the great bells and whistles that we have in america, they pray a lot when they pray, like if we’re in a little circle, you know, during our american missionary prayer circle and boy, listen, we pray better, we’re on the mission field because half of us are sick from something we ate and the others are scared to death because they can’t find a western tollett can you say squatty potty? And so people are praying more than they usually pray, and then someone from uganda or guatemala indonesia walks in the room says, can i pray with you? And they pray with us when we go? Oh my goodness, what was that? They know how to pray, don’t they? They pray like that’s all i got, they pray like if God doesn’t move, i’m not gonna make it another day, whereas we got charge cards we got sweet back up we only pray when it’s past all of our backups. And they have no backups, and they’re closer to god than us. And so, that’s. Why? I say, i want you to go on mission trips with us because it’s going to ruin you for this world . That’s gonna make. You just want jesus it’s, just mohr, because he’s enough!

David mathis who’s the executive editor of desiring god wrote an article entitled nine profits of praying with company where is it good things that happened to you for praying together might be another way of saying that here’s what he says praying together is one of the single most significant things we can do to cultivate unity in the church there’s a unity that is given to those who are partners in christ and share spiritually life in him praying together is both an effect of the unity we share in christ and it is a cause for deeper and richer unity it is not only a sign that unity already exists among the brothers but also a catalyst for more so praying together says we’re already part of the family he’s saying but praying together also makes us feel like like an experience more deeply that we are part of family it protects our unity

will you commit to praying together with other christians will you commit to it if you’re married to start with your spouse that’s the hardest one anyway especially for your wife who is starving for you to pray with her. men hate it because we don’t like to show weakness we don’t like to show you our junk and we recognize i can’t fake it if i’m going to pray in front of my wife and then she finds out stuff that i didn’t want her to know i’m just being honest. But if you will pray together, you won’t believe the unity. You won’t believe it. She’s starving for it is my observation most of the time and men are afraid to give it to start there and then praying together men with other men women with other women because men and women pray different i know some of you don’t like that i don’t care it’s just true just true why? Because men and women are different regardless of the lie that is being pervaded upon us by the culture it’s just not true men and women are different but together we need each other we bring unique perspectives and so men should pray with men women with women but then they should also come together like they did because then see it’s almost like men praying with men and women with women is where most of the growing happens it helps you grow because you’ll be more vulnerable there and then when you come together it’s like a celebration of prayer you know but do both do both pray all kinds of prayers i’m not just saying do one do both commit to it and if you’re not in a small group this is one of the greatest reasons to get in it’s praying together make prayer priority

number three come together seeking the will of god come together seeking the will of god get in alignment verse forty three we’ve not talked about verse forty three can you believe it? We’ve gone for weeks and we’ve not named verse forty three it’s time past time to talk about verse forty three and awe came upon every soul well, certainly that’s as a result of all four devotions, but it immediately followed prayer in the sentence. Certainly it had to do with all four devotions, but maybe even more that they were praying together .

The dictionary defines the word awe as an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, even fear, respect produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, especially of god. Have you ever been praying together with other believers and the awe of god fell upon you and it just gets quiet and everybody in the room knows it. They know god’s in the room. Maybe somebody breaks out in a song at that point. Or maybe somebody just starts crying, or maybe somebody gets a word. They say, i think god’s telling me to say something to john, what is that allowed? Well, if there’s awe in the room it’s the spiritual awareness that something really big just moved into the room that it is not of this world, that it is of god.

The word glory, by the way, is the hebrew word abode. It could be translated heavy or glory whenever they named the child ichabod, it meant the glory has departed abode that we feel abode. When we hear the preaching of god’s word, do we feel it in small group, and we shouldn’t seek the feeling if we seek the feeling we’ll find ourselves idolatry seeking the experience.

But if you seek god, if you seek him, you will discover awe you seek to be awed. I want to go to small group so i could experience awe i know. So you come together seeking the will of god, seeking the face of god. You’ll experience awe, and you’ll experience the wonders and signs. You’ll experience healings and forgiveness and new relationships and breakthroughs. That cannot come any other way there are things going on in your life that you are already praying for but god has shaped his family in such a way that there are certain things that you need a breakthrough and the only way that’s going to come is not just praying alone but to pray with other people and tell them the truth i don’t want him to know about this so that’s your problem tell him tell other people and let us pray with you

this is why the book of James chapter 5 says sometimes when you’re sick sometimes when you’re in trouble you need to go to the elders of the church and ask them to pray for you there’s just certain things there’s just too much you need to pray together seeking the will and the face of god

and then there’s this result that comes out these this awe wonders signs then verse forty seven praising and in favor with people it’s like god does the stuff when we pray together we grow up together seeking him i was thinking about what prayer is like because verse forty seven says that god added to their number i was thinking prayer is kind of like a plough because i was thinking about how jesus says that our heart is like soil in the gospel is like a seed and that when you put the seed out it’s sometimes it lands on hard soil and it just bounces and the birds eat it and sometimes it lands on soil and goes in, but then weeds choke it like that, but there’s a soil that jesus talked about that’s good soil and the seed of the gospel goes into and just grows just like that and i started thinking that prayer is like a plow stay with me for a second that just breaks up hard soil and digs up weeds and causes the rocks to come out so you get yourself a wheel barrow and throw some rocks out prayer gets your prayer wheel barrow and a prayer plow they throw out those rocks and you just plow in prayer

If you have a child that you’re scared to death they’re not going to come to jesus, get your prayer plow out, lord god soften their hearts lord make it so that the gospel will go in if you’ve got a loved one, you got a neighbor, a friend plow and when you finish plowing get out the prayer wheel barrow and start there I’ve observed if you get this out of their life, maybe they could hear the gospel if you could change the circumstance, just pray pray

i think this first century church prayed and people were receptive to the gospel because they prayed. There is a confidence you can have, the bible says. In first John, this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us and in whatever we ask, we know that we have the request that we’ve asked of him.

God, i want to pray. I want what you want, and i want to stop wanting what you don’t want. God help me see praying together causes you to come into alignment with god’s will so that you pray according to god’s will. And if you pray according to god’s will you’re going to get it? You’re going to get exactly so you like you’re going to get it. No, not like that. You’re going to get exactly what you’re praying, but, you know, you might not get it in the time that you thought you might have to wait , or you might go on to glory, and it comes out in the next generation. But listen, if you pray according to his, will you got to know it’s gonna happen.

Peter and john waking up to three o’clock prayers at the temple, they’re walking up the steps, getting ready to go into the gate called beautiful and there’s a crippled fella sitting there, has his job. He was, he’d been crippled since birth, and the way he made a living was alms for the poor, you know, jingle, a cup or whatever he’s crippled and peter john came upon it. Peter is kind of like some people, you know didn’t have a lot of money in this pocket, he said. Silver and gold, have i none, but what i have, i give to thee told you king james was coming. Rise up and walk he jumped up on his feet those legs that were all atrified and no muscle just bone and all crooked and never been used since he was born the lord healed him he jumped up ran through the temple leaping and praising god attracting quite a crowd because they’ve been seeing that boy sitting out there ever since they could remember and then peter and john they were like how’d you do that and they said we told him to rise up and walk in the name of jesus they began to preach jesus and the jews who had crucified jesus the leadership heard about it and they brought them in and they told him stop preaching in the name of jesus and peter said well you decide so we obey god or men we’re going to obey god and they beat them and put them in jail but god got him out right yeah and they come to this house where there was a prayer meeting going on praying for peter john and they came in and they said here’s what happened to us and here’s what they said when they were released in acts chapter for when they were released they went to their friends and reported what the chief priest of the elders had said to them and when they had heard that the people in the prayer meeting they lifted their voices together and god said, sovereign lord, look upon their threats in other words, all those threats don’t preach in jesus and grant to your servants to continue to speak your words with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal. And signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant jesus.

And when they have prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the holy spirit continuing to speak the word of god with boldness. Here’s what they said, lord, we’ve been threatened. You take note of that and stretch forth your hand so we can keep doing what you called us to do no words you handle that lord, we’re not going to worry about that threat. You handled the threat, help us move out. We pray differently. Lord, get rid of the threat. Give me what i need. And we’ve focused over here they said lord, handle that that’s , your department you handle this thing that’s trying to stop us. We’re not going to get off track of sharing the gospel stretch forth your hand lord, we’re going to keep going and he shook that place.

In the first century prayer meeting they sought not only the will of god but they saw the hand of god and the face of god stretch forth your hand i saw the face of god and i said that earlier you can tell a lot about a persons maturity by how they pray but something else you can tell is when you hear somebody else pray it’s like you see another side of the lord you never seen before maybe like sometimes when you’re out with friends and you have a best friend with you and then you see that best friend with some friends you have never saw him with and he acts a sort of a different way you kind of go i never seen him with those friends girls ladies i’ve never seen her with and when she’s with her mama she talks like this you know different

if you see me if you could come with me up to the to the mountains of bristol, tennessee bristol, virginia that area you might hear me speak a little bit different version of southern you might hear me resort to hillbilly you never heard the pastor talk like that before you see a different side because you were there when i was talking and when you’re praying together you see different sides of jesus that you never saw before

quoting cs lewis tim killer argues this he was quoting lewis and then he says this he says it takes a community of people to get to know one individual person reflecting on his own friendships he observed that some aspects of one of his friends personality were brought out only through interaction with a second friend if it takes a community to know an ordinary human being how much more necessary would it be to get to know jesus alongside others by praying with friends you will be able to hear and see facets of jesus that you have not yet perceived because they know him in different ways than you you oh i like them we’ll start praying like that i like that because i never thought about that side of jesus so praying together we grow up praying together we grow closer together praying together we know god’s will better and we see his face more clearly

so will you be devoted to praying together and if you will we can be that church that turns the world upside down let’s pray lord lord thank you thank you for jesus thank you for jesus thank you for jesus he’s changed everything he taught his disciples to pray and they taught us how to pray and so lord forgive us that we don’t pray together as we should help us to become more and more a praying church and as we do lord, we pray that you would soften the soil of the hearts starting right now those that are hearing those in there that are in our house with us now is that you? Lord, I pray you would soften that heart. Is that you? Would you receive the lord jesus? Now you can do it right now. Pray with me, dear lord jesus I am a sinner but i believe you died on the cross for my sins, that you were buried. And on the third day you were raised again, that you lived today i believe it. And more than that i now invite you. I receive you to come into my life, and forgive me of my sins, and to make me a child of god. Lord, come into my life, believe me, it’s his will to do it, if you will pray it and believe it, he will come into your life right now, my friend. Many of you are doing that right now. Others are here and you know jesus, you know him as your lord as your savior, you’ve received him, but you’re still well, you’re young in christ, and you’re afraid to pray with others. Start praying with others, get with others and be open, be transparent, admit that you are learner, that you’re new at, just admit and then pray. Just pray this lord , i pray that you would put me with people that would help me grow in prayer that would lovingly, without judgment, help me, and then those of us that are more mature lord, forgive us for not making time to pray with their spouses and our kids and her, our parents and our friends and fellow church members. Lord, we pray all this in christ’s name. Amen.