Something Happens When Churches Pray

Title: Something Happens When Churches Pray

Bible Book: Acts 1 : 14-26

Author: Donald Cantrell

Subject: Prayer; Prayer Meeting


[Editor's Note: All scripture in this sermon is from the KJV.]

A woman's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her mother. When the minister arrived, he found the woman lying in bed with her head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside her bed. The minister assumed that the woman had been informed of his visit. 'I guess you were expecting me,' he said. 'No, who are you?' said the mother. The minister told her his name and then remarked, 'I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up....’ 'Oh yeah, the chair,' said the bedridden woman.

'Would you mind closing the door?' Puzzled, the minister shut the door. 'I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,' said the woman. 'But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head.' I abandoned any attempt at prayer,' the old woman continued, ' until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me, ' Prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus .

Here is what I suggest. 'Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I will be with you always'. 'Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now.' 'So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.' The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old woman to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with her, anointed her with oil, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her mama had died that afternoon. Did she die in peace?' he asked. Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, she called me over to her bedside, told me she loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found her. But there was something strange about her death. Apparently, just before Mom died, she leaned over and rested her head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?' The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, 'I wish we could all go like that.'

In the book of Acts we find various meetings that were conducted by the early church, as follows:

1 - Prayer Meeting

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.

a – Consider the Mixture of this Meeting

b – Consider the Majesty of this Meeting

This is the last mention of Mary in the bible; she was at a prayer meeting.

c – Consider the Magnitude of this Meeting

They were praying earnestly waiting for the Holy Ghost to be sent.

2 – The Business Meeting

Acts 1:15-26 “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men [and] brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

Acts 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”

a – The Office to be Filled

1 – The Reason

2 – The Replacement

b – The Occupant to be Found

1 – The Close Restrictions of their Choice

2 – The Critical Requirements of their Choice

When the church conducted this business meeting, they did it in an atmosphere of prayer. It is one thing to do the business of God, but another to bathe it with prayer. It is needful to fill church vacancies through prayer, not popularity or personal preference and appeal.

The church should bathe its business meetings in prayer; this will lead us properly into the will of God. We should pray about spending our money, electing our leaders, filling positions. I have been to many business meetings that never even considered prayer and if they had of bathed the meeting in prayer, the meeting would have came out much better. I am not sure why many think that you can conduct God’s business haphazardly. The church must use the resource of prayer, it will help us do God’s work in a worthy manner.

In praying as we conduct God’s business we can achieve 3 things:

I. Lordship (Acts 1: 15/16, 20/26)

Peter acknowledged that God was the leader, not himself, not Mary, but Jesus Christ Himself was the true leader. In Acts 1 we find the Lord giving specific orders to his disciples.

Acts 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me.

The words commandments and commanded is a military term. It has the meaning of a commanding officer ordering his soldiers. The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church.

He works through the Word of God and through prayer. He also works through the Holy Spirit. Peter understood the importance of obeying the Word of God in filling this vacated office. Up until this time the Holy Spirit had not descended with great power and wonders,

In Luke 24: 45 the Lord allowed these men to understand the scriptures:

Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

In this scripture we find Peter acknowledging the Lordship of Christ as he prayed this prayer:

Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

A) It was Prayer of Direction
B) It was a Prayer of Discernment

Acts 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as [he did] unto us;

It is our goal to seek God’s mind when we pray. Prayer is not to get mans will done in heaven, it is to get God’s will done on earth.

Mat 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.

II. Leadership

The second factor that makes the church effective is leadership. When the meeting was called to order, Peter stood up and led the meeting. Peter was not the head of the church, but he was the leader of the church at that time. Five different people did not stand up to conduct the meeting, but only Peter. He was ordered by the Lord to lead the church, so he did.

A) Peter’s Past Failure “His Collapse”

Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

B) Peter’s Present Favor “His Calling”

John 21:15-17: “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

III. Partnership

The meeting was called to order and the entire church participated in filling the office. The group joined together in prayer. All of us should be involved in praying, it is the link that joins the entire church together.

The early church prayed before choosing their leaders, then they prayed for their leaders many times after this meeting.

A) Picking our Leaders

Acts 6:6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid [their] hands on them.

B) Praying for our Leaders

Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

C) Partnering with our Leaders

Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

It is one thing to pray in choosing your leaders; it is another to pray for your leaders.


Posted in


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top