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Now we're going to read the Scriptures together, if you have a Bible with you I want you to turn with me to Acts chapter 12. I want to give a message this morning under the title: 'What Happens When a Church Really Prays' - what happens when a church really prays, and I want this to be a challenge and encouragement, a message of exhortation that will lead us into the week of prayer. I'm really looking forward to it, I really enjoyed it last year, I hope you did too - and I want as many of you as possible who were out every morning in the early hours to come and join us again. Those, I would have to say, were the sweetest times in our prayer week, and I believe they will be such again. Some of you fell away during the year when we continued a Wednesday morning prayer meeting, but we want you to get back into the thick of it and see your prayer life revived.

There are many cliches within the church of Jesus Christ which most of us are familiar with, and one of them is this: 'Prayer changes things'...

We want to look this morning at what happens when a church really prays, beginning at verse 1 of Acts chapter 12: "Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison" - this is what I want you to mark: "but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place" - and we end the reading of God's word at verse 17.

We're looking at what happens when a church really prays - perhaps we could just bow for a moment's prayer. Our Father, we come to Thee this morning and we all feel within our hearts our own deficiency when it comes to this matter of prayer. We know that some of the greatest men of God who have ever lived on this earth have confessed that prayer has been one of the most difficult struggles and battles in their life, but yet also, relative to that, is the fact that it is, we know, our Father, one of the most important factors in the Christian life and also in the life of the Assembly. We pray now that we would be enthused, challenged, rebuked if necessary, exhorted and encouraged to see what happens when a church really prays. We pray that even now, and the rest of this week, we will know a bit of what the early church knew when it met together and were gathered together praying. For we ask these things to the glory and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we love and serve, Amen.

Prayer changes things, prayer changes people, but what we want to look at today is the fact that prayer changes churches. Things really happen when churches pray!

There are many cliches within the church of Jesus Christ which most of us are familiar with, and one of them is this: 'Prayer changes things'. You see it, perhaps, on a bumper sticker, or on the back window of a car, or on a bookmark, or somebody says it to you, or you've got it up above your cooker in the kitchen. Many of the cliches are often empty, but that one certainly is not because, if you're a Christian for - I don't know - even one or two years, and have any shape of a prayer life, you will know that prayer does change things. It doesn't mean you always get what you want, it doesn't mean you get your way and you can turn God round to your direction of thinking every time, but if you have an active prayer life and you've prayed for some time, you will know that God does answer prayer. Prayer changes things, and in many weeks of looking at this subject from this pulpit I have also brought to your attention that, not only does prayer changes things, but perhaps the greater work is that prayer changes people. Whether it's the person you're praying for, but more than likely, primarily it's you as the pray-er - that when you come before God and are found in God's presence, bringing even just petitions and requests, God does a strange work in your heart. He changes you and conforms you to His image in the place of prayer.

Prayer changes things, prayer changes people, but what we want to look at today is the fact that prayer changes churches. Things really happen when churches pray! We've seen that in Acts chapter 12, we don't have too much time to go through the whole of the narrative, but it just tells the story of how the church were facing terrible persecution for their faith. This wicked man, Herod, was killing the apostles and seeking to kill more apostles. We see that the church rallied together at this great time of need and emergency, and they didn't run to the parliament of the day, they didn't write letters to their MP - not that we despise those things - they didn't think of new programmes and strategies, but the first and foremost thing that they did was appeal to prayer. They met together - James had been killed by the sword, and now Herod was turning his wicked attention to Peter, and we find in verse 5: 'Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him'. We find in verse 12 at the end that there were many gathered together praying. Right throughout the whole of the book of Acts, the acts of the apostles, or the acts of the Holy Spirit would be a better title, we see that prayer was an integral part, indeed perhaps we could say a primary part, of the operations of the church of Jesus Christ in its beginnings.

Things started to happen when these Christians prayed. In fact, the miraculous happened, great things happened, the supernatural happened - because we find Peter lying here in the prison, and an angel comes and taps him to waken up, and delivers him - and as many of you have read in that book, the iron gates yielded to the power of God, and effectively the power of God in answer to the prayers of the church. Peter comes knocking on the door of the place where the people are praying, and that young damsel Rhoda comes to the door - and she can hardly believe it's Peter, she's in such shock that she hasn't time to open the door, and she runs back to the people saying it's Peter. They said: 'No, it couldn't be, it must be his spirit or his angel!'. Great things happen when a church prays, when it really prays - even to the extent that the church doesn't even believe what can happen, and when it happens they're so astounded because they maybe didn't even think it could happen.

I wonder, as we come to our week of prayer this week, do we all believe that great things happen when churches really pray?

I wonder, as we come to our week of prayer this week, do we all believe that great things happen when churches really pray? The Old Testament people of God knew that. We could cite many occasions when God came to them in answer to their prayers, but one very famous one was when God addressed His people in 2 Chronicles 7 and verse 14, and said: 'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land'. He was instilling in them, yes in a different dispensation I acknowledge, but yet something that comes to our dispensation is the fact that great things happen when the people of God join together and really pray. I could have cited to you many instances of that in the New Testament, even from the book of Acts, but the one example that we are given from this chapter 12 of Acts tells us all that we need to know - that the church, when it really get to grips with praying to God, can see great things, supernatural things, miraculous things happen! And praise God, there's still a few people today that believe that things haven't changed!

There are, aren't there? God is still the same, and all you have to do is look to revival history to see the fact that is the case. I think of Henry Ward Beecher, who was a very famous American preacher many years ago, and he was asked what was the reason of the success of his ministry, in fact why he almost experienced perpetual revival year-on-year. He turned to the questioner and replied: 'The secret to the success of this ministry', not 'is my preaching', not 'is my organisational skills', not 'is the leaders that I have' or 'the scholarly ability that I possess', but here it is: 'I have good reflectors in the pews'. Isn't that lovely? 'I have good reflectors in the pews', in other words when he preached the word of God, and the light of the gospel truth and teaching of the word of God went forth, the people were reflecting the reality in their obedience, their actions. What greater way could you, after this message, all this week reflect obedience to the light of God and preaching and prayer that has been non-stop - I hope - from this pulpit, is to exercise in your own personal experience a life poured out in prayer before God - but more than that: as a church, to really get to grips with God in prayer!

One of the chief secrets to any successful ministry is a praying church. We talk often about the prince of preachers, don't we? C. H. Spurgeon - and he was asked a similar question on one occasion: what is the secret to the success of his ministry in this church? After the meeting he took that inquirer down under the main body of the church to a hall underneath, and there were hundreds of people praying while Spurgeon was preaching the Gospel! Is there any wonder that people were being converted! While he was in the act of throwing the gospel net forth, there were people weeping and crying and travailing before God. Another giant in evangelicalism was Charles Grandison Finney - now you mightn't have agreed with all of his theology, but you couldn't deny that God mightily used him. He was no 'here today, gone tomorrow' evangelist. When he went into a town he would stay there, perhaps, for months. He wouldn't worry about the reaction of the people, he wouldn't worry about the numbers, he wouldn't even worry when people got so upset that they walked out of his meeting - and sometimes the whole of the congregation followed that one person - because whatever he lost by his strong preaching, he regained by his stronger praying. Just as Moses had his Aaron, Charles Finney had two men that followed him everywhere. It's amazing, the difference between Finney and us, is that he had that strong praying support.

I think it's right to say that our emphasis has changed today from praying to programmes. Programmes are not unimportant, but they're not as important as praying...

Leonard Ravenhill, a man of God, a preacher who has now gone to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, once was ministering as an assistant to Arthur Fossett (sp?) in the town of Bolton. He was introduced to a lady who told him that when Finney was taking an evangelistic campaign in Bolton, two men came to the door of her inn looking for accommodation, and she had no more accommodation to give those two men. Finally, for a few pence, the two men took the most livid and awful place in the whole of the establishment. Those two men were called Father Nash and Father Clairy - now they weren't priests, that was just the name that they were given! The two of them rented this dark, damp cellar for the whole of the period of those meetings - for about two weeks or so - it was their self-chosen cell, and there those prayer partners battled with God and with the forces of darkness - and we would have to say, all due credit to C. H. Spurgeon, to Henry Ward Beecher, to Charles Grandison Finney for all that they did for Christ and the cause of the gospel, but it was praying men behind their ministry that held the ropes, that were the real secret to their success! The tears that they shed, the groans that they uttered, are written in the chronicles of God's book above, because the secret to any successful ministry or church is a church that really prays! I mean really prays!

I think it's right to say that our emphasis has changed today from praying to programmes. Programmes are not unimportant, but they're not as important as praying. Our emphasis has changed from interceding to entertaining. It's important to have good praise, exalt the Lord Jesus - we should get rid of this attitude that 'anything will do for the Lord', we should strive for the best and for excellence for Him - but let us never replace interceding with entertaining, or even travailing before God with travelling! The sin of prayerlessness not only is tragically found in the life of individual believers, but it pervades the church of Jesus Christ in the West. To God, prayerlessness is sin - do you realise that? That there are not only sins of commission - that is, the things that you do that God tells us not to do - but there are sins of omission, the things that we have left undone that we ought to have done. Probably very high in the 'top ten' of those is prayer.

Turn with me to 1 Samuel chapter 12, keep your finger in Acts chapter 12, 1 Samuel chapter 12 just that I may prove to you that, in God's eyes, not to pray is sin. Samuel says to the people in verse 23: 'God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you'. You can sin against the Lord by not praying for others, it is disobedience to God's command - in fact, the Lord Jesus commanded that men ought always to pray and not to faint. Now I'm not exonerating myself of all responsibility, because I know that a praying pulpit will beget a praying pew, and I know that this preacher before you needs to pray more - and I hope in the days that lie ahead to seek God more for you and for the salvation of the lost, and for myself, for I need prayer. But if the preachers need to pray for themselves and for the people, so do the people! They need to pray for the preachers, they need to pray for the work, they need to pray for the salvation of the lost!

Leonard Ravenhill was right when he said: 'Good seed sown on bad ground will produce indifferent harvest, but good preaching on ground ill-prepared by prayer is an abortive thing'. In other words, you can have the best preaching in the world - and I don't suggest that you do! - but even if you did have that and no prayer, everything that would go forth would abort in death! E. M. Bounds, that great writer on prayer, said: 'The Gospel moves with slow and timid pace when the saints are not at their prayers early and late and long'. Now, can I ask you on a personal level: how is your prayer life? Now come on! Do you rush to work in the morning without saying anything to God? Or do you rush a prayer to God that you would never rush to any dignitary on a human level? How is your prayer life with regards to your attendance to the prayer meeting? I'm not trying to give you a guilt trip, this is your responsibility before God!

Do you remember the Gospel meeting in your personal prayers? Do you pray specifically for the unsaved? Come on now! In your individual life, where is prayer?

People sometimes say to me as we leave the Gospel meeting, that they wonder how people can sit here night after night and hear the Gospel, and no-one ever gets saved or seems to get saved that we know - although there are people getting saved, and we thank God. But how can they get saved, first of all, if they're not here; and how can they get saved if there is not an army of implorers interceding before God for their souls early and late and long? Do you remember the Gospel meeting in your personal prayers? Do you pray specifically for the unsaved? Come on now! In your individual life, where is prayer? What better place to see a revival of prayer in our own personal walk or in this church than the week of prayer?

Listen to the possibilities of what happens when churches really pray: one, what happens? The supernatural, the supernatural! You saw the supernatural here, Peter was freed from prison. It was an unnatural thing - it was beyond that to be a supernatural, an amazing thing, a miraculous thing. When God began to move in the ministry of George Whitfield, the great evangelist of the 1700s, he recorded in his diary after one of the moves of the Spirit of God these words, listen carefully: 'Sometimes whole nights were spent in prayer. Often we have been filled as with new wine, and often we have been overwhelmed with the Divine presence, and crying out: 'Will God indeed dwell with men upon the earth? How dreadful is this place, this is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven!''. There was an awareness of God, that God had come to dwell among His people!

The question we must ask ourselves is: Iron Hall, do we have that in our gatherings? A consciousness that God is here, and that to bless us? Turn with me to Acts 4 and verse 31, another record of the early church: 'And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness'. Now you can say: 'Well, those type of things don't happen any more' - do they not? In 1940 in Arnold, on the Isle of Lewis - some of you remember 1940, so it's in your lifespan - towards the close of a prayer meeting in the home of an elder of the Church of Scotland, a local blacksmith was asked to pray, and his prayer turned to the promises of God and his own thirst for God. He concluded in these words: 'O God, Your honour is at stake, and I now challenge You to fulfil Your covenant engagement, and to do what You have promised to do' - and at that moment, believe it or believe it not, the house shook! The record is that the dishes rattled on the sideboards, as wave upon wave of Divine power swept through that house - and when that group of praying people closed the prayer meeting and went outside, they found - I quote again: 'The community alive with an awareness of God'!

Wouldn't it be tremendous if the unconverted that came into this place, if the people around this place, were awakened to an awareness of God! But believers, brethren, are we? Do we recognise that God is among us? Now I have been speaking to one of the men who regularly cleans this place up...and he tells me that on a regular basis he finds pencil sharpenings on the floor - after meetings now, not after the Sunday School - pencil sharpenings. Now wait for it, it's humorous if it wasn't so serious...he also finds nail clippings in piles. Now it's not my wish to single anybody out, but if we can sit here clipping our nails, we don't believe we're in the presence of God, do we? Is there an awareness that God is here? I told you last year of the Moravians, the supernatural things that happened when they started to pray. 1727, the month of August, at Herrnhut in Saxony, Germany - their prayer meetings were revived and they saw for 100 years a continuous prayer meeting, where adults covenanted to pray the 24 hours of every day, and it lasted for 100 years! At the end of that revival there were even children holding their own prayer meetings! Singing, praying and weeping, the records tell...

Isn't it wonderful that the Lord remembers we are dust, and even when we pray He often surprises us?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the supernatural happened this week in our week of prayer, and I'm not interested in the house shaking or the dishes rattling, I'm just interested in an awareness of God. What else happens when a church really prays? Secondly: the surprising happens. They didn't expect this, sure they didn't? When he came to the door, Rhoda hardly opened the door for him. Then when she told the people that it was Peter they didn't believe, they thought it was his ghost or something. Isn't it wonderful that the Lord remembers we are dust, and even when we pray He often surprises us? But friends, do you realise that the surprising can happen, at the end of this week, maybe even during this week or even today, in answer to our church if we really got down to prayer - obstacles that we think are immovable, eternal, dissolved before our eyes, melted before the power of God in answer to prayer!

What was it Isaiah prayed? 'Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!'. The mountains that have been there, it seems, forever, can be melted by the power of God in answer to prayer! Do we believe that?

The supernatural happens, the surprising happens, thirdly: the saving happens. Verse 17 of our passage: 'He, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison'. Isn't that deliverance? How the Lord had saved him out of the prison in answer to the prayer of the church! We all have got people that we have been praying for, it seems, all our lives - praise God, some of them have been saved this year, some of them we can knock off the list for Thursday night - Hallelujah! But there are many more to knock off, and they will only come off, I believe, from our perspective, in answer to the prayers of this church - when we really get down to prayer!

Now I have only a few minutes left, but what I want to bring to you is not just what happens when the church really prays, but what it is to really pray - what it is to really pray. We've got it here in verse 5: 'Prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him'. Now it's hard to define, when you hear real prayer, that it is that - what I mean is, it's hard to know it when you hear it because we cannot see into men's hearts. But what is more important than us knowing whether it's real prayer or not is when God hears it and knows that it's real prayer. Dr J. Wilber Chapman was once preaching in Hereford, England, and for days in his mission there was a signal absence of any power or Divine conviction of sin over those who were unbelievers. However, a change came in the meeting when a man came along - yes, a man. He was a man of prayer, his name was 'Praying Hyde' - Praying John Hyde, a missionary from Calcutta. Chapman says, I quote to you again: 'When John Hyde came there, God came to town'. Now you might think that's exalting a man a bit too much, but I tell you this: wouldn't it be wonderful if you had such a relationship with God that you carried His tangible presence everywhere you go? It is said of John Hyde: 'God and Hyde walked together', and as a result when Chapman made his final appeal at the Gospel meeting that particular night there were 50 people who came to Christ! Because of the difference that was made, Chapman went to Praying Hyde, and he said: 'Would you pray for me?'. Into a little room like this the two men went. Mr Hyde turned the key in the door, and turned his face up to God, and then turned the fountains of his great heart open before the Throne of Grace. Chapman adds, listen: 'I felt the hot tears running down my face. I knew I was with God. Then with upturned face, down which the tears were streaming, John Hyde said the words: 'O God!'. Then for five minutes at least, he was still, and then when he knew he was talking with God his arm went around my shoulder and there came up from the depths of his heart such petitions for men as I had never before heard. I rose from my knees to know what real prayer was!'.

I love a laugh and a joke like the rest of them - but sometimes, I'll tell you, there's a severe absence of the presence of God being acknowledged...

O that we would rise from this week of prayer to know what real prayer is! What is it? It's praying unto God - 'prayer was made unto God'. We need to make sure that we're in God's presence, we need to reverence God's presence - and I love a laugh and a joke like the rest of them - but sometimes, I'll tell you, there's a severe absence of the presence of God being acknowledged. There should be no slovenliness in the presence of the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. How many of your prayers, brethren, are preaching messages where you're trying to prove a point, or you're trying to get at this one, that one, or the other. How many of our prayers are really a heart poured out like Hannah's for the barrenness of her womb. Are we more worried - God forgive us! - about what the brethren think, than what God thinks about our prayer? Isn't it wonderful that God will overlook a mistake that you make in your prayer, isn't that wonderful? In all of our planning for this building and for the days of the future, listen: it will all come to nothing unless we go to God. That's where we need to go, not to the council, to God.

'Unto God', here's the second thing in verse 5: 'without ceasing'. That literally, in the Greek, is the sense 'stretched-outedly' - it's not a word in English, but that's the real feeling of it. It's as if it was an elastic time of prayer, they were persevering. Jeremiah tells us: 'Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart'. I think I've told you before about James, you've heard of him many times from others, he had calloused knees because he prayed so much unto God - they called him 'camel knees'. Praying Payson of Portland in the States, when they were carrying him out of his house in his coffin, they noticed two deep grooves on the wooden floorboards beside his bed where he had implored God for men - and the mark was made!

Now listen: many of us talk about this type of prayer, don't we? Oh, and we read about it, and we praise it in others - whether they live with us now, there's not too many, or whether they are characters of Christian history - but will we, this week, get out of the realm of sentiment and get into the realm of reality where prayer really starts to make a difference? 'Unto God', 'without ceasing', here thirdly: 'of the church' - of the church. Now God answers personal prayer, but I believe there's a special power when God answers the church's prayers, when they meet together and unite together. In the passage in Matthew 18 concerning church discipline, the Lord said - and I believe it's a universal, general principle - 'If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them'. In that regard, earth is governing heaven by prayer!

I tell you, God gives us more authority on our knees than we care to ask. The Holy Spirit burdens two people, they unite together in the will of God to pray, and earth or heaven cannot stop God giving the answer if it's in His will. 'Unto God', 'without ceasing', 'of the church', 'for him' - for Peter! Their praying was specific, they asked for the need that they have, and we need to the same - that's why we're giving you these prayer sheets. Didn't James say that - praying James - 'Ye have not because, ye ask not' - and the sense is 'specifically'. You're not getting what you need because you haven't asked. Old D. L. Moody, the evangelist, on one occasion asked a man to open in prayer - and sometimes this happens - he stood to his feet and he waffled, and waffled, and waffled, and he went all around the world for a shortcut. D. L. Moody tugged the back of his coat and he said: 'Call Him Father, and just ask Him for something'. Isn't that what it's about? Oh yes, we need to worship, but we're not there to preach a sermon, we're there to pour out our hearts and our needs, our specific needs, to God. We can be so complicated at times, yet all God wants is for us to come like a little child to a Father - and will He not, with the heart of a Father, give us what we need?

We can be so complicated at times, yet all God wants is for us to come like a little child to a Father - and will He not, with the heart of a Father, give us what we need?

Someone has said: 'More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of' - I believe that with all my being. What have we dreamed of? What are your dreams? What are your visions? Listen: if it according to the will of God, and rooted in the promises of God, it can be yours for the asking in prayer! Did the Lord not first say to David - I know it's a prophetic Psalm - but He first said it to him: 'Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession'. Listen to this poem as I close, it's called 'He'll Surely Hear', it's by Oswald J. Smith:

'God promised He would answer prayer.
Well, then, His promise plead,
And come to Him in Jesus' name:
He lives to intercede!

Behold Him now at God's right-hand,
Our Saviour, Christ the Lord.
O, trust Him in the darkest night,
Rely upon His word.

Our every need He will supply,
He hears us when we pray:
O, let us then our faith renew
And trust in God today.

It matters not how great the test,
God always makes a way -
Then let us take Him at His word:
He will not say us 'Nay'.

The hills before His presence melt,
The mountains disappear.
He answers prayer in Jesus' name,
Our cry He'll surely hear'.

Let's bow our heads. Maybe you're in this meeting this morning and you're not even a Christian. In your past, like most people, you've prayed - maybe God has answered you in mercy. Has His goodness not led you to repentance? Those times when He delivered you out of a tight space, when He came to your aid, when He helped you, when He maybe healed you - and you're still not saved...isn't that a tragedy? There's a whole life of answered prayer waiting ahead of you, if you would only trust Him. Maybe you're not saved, and God hasn't answered your prayer, and that's what you're holding against Him - could it be because there's a greater prayer than your prayer that you need to pray? The prayer of repentance! 'Lord, be merciful unto me a sinner'. Would you not pray that one today? That the door to a house of answered prayer may be opened to you, and the rooms you may explore.

Believer, what's your prayer life like? Come on now, let's be honest: I know that mine needs an MOT every week. I know that it's one of the hardest things in my life, and there are times when I'm going great guns, and times when it's virtually non-existent. I'll be honest with you, will you be honest with yourself? Overseers, deacons, members, Sunday School teachers - let us rededicate our prayer lives to the Lord and see a revival of them this week. I believe that mighty things, great things, will be done if we really pray.

O Lord, send them upon us, grant to us now a refreshing, and now honour Thy word. Lord, we need this, we need Thee - in fact, we would have to say that anything without life will very gradually and ultimately come into extinction. We know that the promise of Your word cannot allow the Gospel witness to come into extinction, the church of God must go on for all eternity. So we say, as one of old we have quoted today has already said: Your honour is at stake O God, let not the witness suffer here, but let the word of God go forth more and stronger and with more effect than ever it has. May this week of prayer usher in an awareness and consciousness of the presence of God Almighty that we have not known ever before. Help us in our own prayer lives, that the closet may not be empty. Help us as a fellowship to unite together in prayer, to see great things done because we have really prayed. So hear this prayer, and may it be the first of many ones answered, for Christ's sake. Amen.

Transcribed by:
Preach The Word.
October 2003

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the tape, titled "What Happens When A Church Really Prays" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.

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