On January 1st, many people vow to become the best version of themselves they can be.
But we all know the resolutions rarely stick. In fact, I have noticed a significantly decreased level of optimism for change these past two years.
So, for our first Sunday in 2022, we turn our eyes to an interesting passage in Acts 12.
Acts 12 is a facinating passage on many levels.
Importantly, it is an illustration of a remarkable personal transformation. As we see Peter, we notice that he is a completely different man than the Peter at the end of the gospels.
A remarkable encouragement for dark and difficult days.
The fledgling church is on the brink of extinction.
So what do they do? They commit themselves to prayer.
This has always been the church’s best hope in difficult times.
Here is Charles Spurgeon on the power and importance of prayer:
“However poisonous the viper, prayer can extract its sting;
however fierce the lion, prayer can break its teeth;
however terrible the fire, prayer can quench the violence of the flame.
And how did the fledgling church survive in such difficult, dark times?
While praying their tongues were unloosed, and they went forth to speak to the people;
and while praying the Lord opened to them the treasures of his grace.
While praying their hearts grew warm with inward fire;
while praying the Spirit often separated this man and that for special work;
while praying the Spirit of God came down upon them;
By prayer, they were protected,
and by prayer, they grew;
and if our churches are to live and grow they must be watered from the self-same source.
Prayer is the best hope we have to experience real, lasting transformation.
Here is our outline:
The Church’s One Hope
- 1. We are at our strongest when we are weakest because that is when we look up.
- 2. We are at our strongest when we are weakest because that is when God comes down.
- 3. We are at our strongest when we are weakest because that is when we go out.
- Pray for peace and rest for the anxious:
- Pray for light for those in the darkness:
- Pray for freedom for those who are bound:
- Pray for the clothes of righteousness:
- Pray for the leading of the Spirit:
- Pray that we would have the faith to seek specific answers to prayers:
- Pray that we would have the faith to believe in the power of prayer:
- Pray for patience to wait on the Lord:
- Pray that we would see God’s power displayed in the lives of people this year: