Sermon Series: You Belong Here 

August 27, 2023 -Week 4: Prayer and Fasting

Prayer permeates the book of Acts and although we often think of prayer as a personal activity, Acts shows the early church praying together regularly. We will begin an intentional season of 30 days of prayer and fasting on Sunday September 3rd. My challenge to you is to take these 30 days to intentionally sacrifice and seek God’s vision for your personal life and our church life. This Sunday in worship I will walk you through some of the Bible’s teaching around seasons of corporate prayer and fasting to equip you to take this step of faith with me.

Acts 4:23-32

The Believers Pray
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.[a]’[b]
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

The Believers Share Their Possessions
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

Look at these examples of corporate prayer in Acts and reflect on what they teach you about praying with others: 

Acts 1:13-14 NRSV
13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of[a] James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

Acts 2:42
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 12:5-16

5 While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.

Peter Delivered from Prison
6 The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison.7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his wrists. 8 The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 Peter[a] went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.10 After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. 11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 As soon as he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many had gathered and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the outer gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. 14 On recognizing Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile Peter continued knocking, and when they opened the gate they saw him and were amazed.

Acts 13:2-3
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 14:23
23 And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

Acts 16:25
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

Acts 20:36
36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed.

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