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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2009-09-06 "The Power of Answered Prayer"

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THE POWER OF ANSWERED PRAYER

SERMON STARTER

          It is disheartening to pray for a result from God and not see the desires of your heart come to pass. When prayers seemingly go unanswered, God’s people get discouraged and often give up on Him. Fortunately, God isn’t our bellhop, jumping to meet our requests. He allows us on occasion to suffer disillusionment and disappointment to remind us that He is in control.

          This sermon was inspired by a Christian friend who has recently re-committed his life to Jesus. Since that event, the Holy Spirit has awakened him every morning at 2 am for prayer. Normally, a 2 am wake up indicates a serious kind of insomnia, but not with this man: it is God’s personal call to prayer. He has been involved in an intense dialogue with God in this manner for several weeks now and the results have been astounding.

          He has been a significant contributor to this inspirational reminder of the power of the Old Testament prophets, especially Elijah.

 

Pastor Phil  <><<

P.S. Please be sure to read the inspirational answered prayer stories at the end of the sermon.

 

September 6, 2009

Sheepfold Ministries, Pastor Phil Roland

 

THE POWER OF ANSWERED PRAYER

                      1 Kings 18 “Answered prayer is the single strongest factor in turning the hardest heart toward God. Perhaps no one is truly converted without prior prayer.” 

                                                                                                                           Pastor Phil

LESSONS FROM THE TEXT:

I.  ANSWERED PRAYER GLORIFIES GOD – John 14:13

   "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be

     glorified in the Son.”

            A. Answered Prayer Glorifies God, not Religious People

                        1. Pharisees are self-centered and feel entitled

                        2. “I have all this because I deserve it. . .”

            B. We take too much for granted, not realizing God’s Goodness

                        1. God answers prayer for His Kingdom Purposes

                        2. Answered prayer advances His Kingdom on earth

            C. We ask according to His Will and He answers – I John 5:15

                “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything                     according to His will, He hears us.”

 

II.  ANSWERED PRAYER CAN BE EXPECTED – Hebrews 6:18

      “that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we

       might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the

       hope set before us.”

            A. Elijah sets up a series of Impossibilities – 1 Kings 18:30-37

                        1. God operates in the realm of impossibilities Luke 18:27

                            “But He (Jesus) said, "The things which are impossible with men                               are possible with God."

                        2. God’s Formula: Impossible with men / Possible with God

            B. He is confident in God’s Answer by Fire – Hebrews 11:6

               “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to

                 God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who

                 diligently seek Him.”

 

III.  ANSWERED PRAYER CAUSES UNBELIEVERS TO HONOR     GOD – 1 Kings 18:37

       "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the

          LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again."

            A. After the prayer God’s Fire fell -  1 Kings 18:38

               “Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and

                 the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that

                 was in the trench.”

            B. The people declare their faith in God – 1 Kings 18:39

                 “Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said,

                  "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!"    

                        1. Heart-felt prayer lays our reputation before God and men

                        2. Praying BIG prayers involve risk

                                    a. Unbelievers will call you foolish

                                    b. Others will say you are deranged

            C. When BIG prayers are answered, people say, “This must be God!”

                        1. In life’s extremities pray BIG prayers

                        2. Pray that people will know God through you

 

IV.  ANSWERED PRAYER ACCOMPLISHES GOD’S GOALS

       “And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them

         escape!" So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook

         Kishon and executed them there.”  1 Kings 18:40

            A. Sounds harsh? What about the sacrifice of live infants?

                        1. Baal and Ashtoreth demanded First Born Children

                        2. Employed Temple Prostitutes: female and male

                        3. Worshipped human reproduction

            B. Defines the harshness of both Joshua and Elijah - Deut. 7:2,3

                "and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall

                  conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant

                  with them nor show mercy to them. "Nor shall you make marriages with

                  them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their

                  daughter for your son.”

                        1. God told Israel to drive out and/or destroy the Canaanites

                        2. They were detested and abhorred by God

            C. God’s goal was that this religion was to be exterminated

                        1. It was an abomination to God

                        2. He was disgusted with their killing of infants

V.  ANSWERED PRAYER INCREASES FAITH IN BELIEVERS              

            (See 1 Kings 18:40-46)

            A. The more you pray, the more God answers

                        1. Increases your desire to pray

                        2. Usually stop seeking God when He answers

                        3. Don’t stop!

            B. Don’t squander His blessings when He sends them

                        1. Don’t throw away God’s gift of money

                        2. Don’t throw away God’s gift of people

                        3. Don’t walk away into deliberate sin

            C. Use the blessing of answered prayer to give glory to His name

THE POWER OF ANSWERED PRAYER ILLUSTRATIONS:

 

AN IDOL’S POWER BROKEN BY RAIN

 

In his book Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee describes a preaching mission to an island off the South China coast. There were seven in the ministering group, including a sixteen-year-old new convert whom he calls Brother Wu. The island was fairly large, containing about 6,000 homes. Nee had a contact there, an old schoolmate of his who was headmaster of the village school, but he refused to house the group when he discovered they had come to preach the Gospel. Finally, they found lodging with a Chinese herbalist, who became their first convert. Preaching seemed quite fruitless on the island, and Nee discovered it was because of the dedication of the people there to an idol they called Ta-wang. They were convinced of his power because on the day of his festival and parade each year the weather was always near perfect.

 

"When is the procession this year?" young Wu asked a group that had gathered to hear them preach.

 

"It is fixed for January 11th at 8 in the morning," was the reply.

 

"Then," said the new convert, "I promise you that it will certainly rain on the 11th."

 

At that there was an outburst of cries from the crowd: "That is enough! We don't want to hear any more preaching. If there is rain on the 11th, then your God is God!"

 

Watchman Nee had been elsewhere in the village when this confrontation had taken place. Upon being informed about it, he saw that the situation was serious and called the group to prayer. On the morning of the 11th, there was not a cloud in the sky, but during grace for breakfast, sprinkles began to fall and these were followed by heavy rain. Worshipers of the idol Ta-wang were so upset that they placed it in a sedan chair and carried it outdoors, hoping this would stop the rain. Then the rain increased. After only a short distance, the carriers of the idol stumbled and fell, dropping the idol and fracturing its jaw and left arm.

 

A number of young people turned to Christ as a result of the rain coming in answer to prayer, but the elders of the village made divination and said that the wrong day had been chosen. The proper day of the procession, they said, should have been the 14th. When Nee and his friends heard this, they again went to prayer, asking for rain on the 14th and for clear days for preaching until then. That afternoon the sky cleared and on the good days that followed there were thirty converts. Of the crucial test day, Nee says: The 14th broke, another perfect day, and we had good meetings. As the evening approached we met again at the appointed hour. We quietly brought the matter to the Lord's remembrance. Not a minute late, His answer came with torrential rain and floods as before.

 

The power of the idol over the islanders was broken; the enemy was defeated. Believing prayer had brought a great victory. Conversions followed. And the impact upon the servants of God who had witnessed His power would continue to enrich their Christian service from that time on. 

Roger F. Campbell, You Can Win!, 1985, SP Publications, pp. 35-36.

 

 

 

THE AGNOSTIC AND TWO ORANGES

 

While crossing the Atlantic on an ocean liner, F.B. Meyer was asked to address the first class passengers. At the captain's request he spoke on "Answered Prayer." An agnostic who was present at the service was asked by his friends, "What did you think of Dr. Meyer's sermon?" He answered, "I didn't believe a word of it." That afternoon Meyer went to speak to the steerage passengers. Many of the listeners at his morning address went along, including the agnostic, who claimed he just wanted to hear "what the babbler had to say." 

 

Before starting for the service, the agnostic put two oranges in his pocket. On his way he passed an elderly woman sitting in her deck chair fast asleep. Her hands were open. In the spirit of fun, the agnostic put the two oranges in her outstretched palms. After the meeting, he saw the old lady happily eating one of the pieces of fruit. "You seem to be enjoying that orange," he remarked with a smile. "Yes, sir," she replied, "My Father is very good to me." "Your father? Surely your father can't be still alive!" "Praise God," she replied, "He is very much alive." "What do you mean?" pressed the agnostic. She explained, "I'll tell you, sir. I have been seasick for days. I was asking God somehow to send me an orange. I suppose I fell asleep while I was praying. When I awoke, I found He had not only sent me one orange but two!" The agnostic was speechless. Later, he was converted to Christ. Yes, praying in God's will brings an answer.

Our Daily Bread.

A HOT WATER BOTTLE AND A DOLLY

 

Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Zaire, told the following story. "A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister. One of the girls responded, 'Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won't feel so lonely.' 

 

That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, 'If God sent that, I'm sure He also sent a doll!' And she was right! The heavenly Father knew in advance of that child's sincere requests, and 5 months earlier He had led a ladies' group to include both of those specific articles." 

Our Daily Bread.