Prayer and the New Christian

Bible Book: Acts  2 : 41-42
Subject: Prayer; Christian, New; Prayer Meeting
Series: It Was Just A Prayer Meeting
[Editor's Note: All scripture in this sermon is fRomans the KJV.]

Acts 2:41-42: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

In studying for this sermon, I came across some very interesting information for soldiers about to enter basic training, as follows:

Top 10 things to expect when preparing for basic training

Expect to get sick
Expect homesickness
Expect the worst
Expect drama
Expect friendship and enemies
Expect long days and short nights
Expect stress
Expect mistakes and failures
Expect the unexpected
Expect to be deployed - (GT Michael Volkin)

This article caught my attention as I was mulling over the idea of teaching this material during a Wednesday night prayer meeting. The study for tonight is new Christians need to pray. Just like new soldiers need to realize the importance of what they will encounter during boot camp, our new converts must realize that prayer is mandatory for their well being as a Christian soldier.

Expect to get sick

I liked the top ten list due to all ten of them are applicable in the life of a new Christian. You will face times where you get sick in your Christian life; at times things will not feel good, look good or taste good, when that occurs you must be prepared to pray on or pray through. The Christian life is not a bed of roses and the going will be tough and it will wear you down to the point of spiritual sickness, you may want to quit, instead you must pray and trudge ahead. The soldier is told up front that tough times are just around the corner, be prepared to pray.

Expect Homesickness

The soldier will endure hardships and fatigue and when he does he must be able to combat those thoughts. The Christian soldier will face homesickness and the best way to combat it is to pray.

Expect the worst

One of the number one reasons many bail out on God is they fail to realize that things can get bad. Paul faced the worst in life but he prayed through it. Peter faced the worst but prayer helped him trudge on. Jesus faced the worst life had to offer, but prayer prepared him to mightily trudge onward to victory.

Expect Drama

Drama is a part of life, when it occurs pray. Drama was continually a part of the daily life of Jesus, he prayed through it. The early church faced much drama, but they prayed daily.

Expect friendship and enemies

Jesus warned us that if the world hated him they would also hate us, but thankfully he also recognized his friends. The new Christian must understand this, everyone will not like you. The best thing you can do to your enemies is to pray for them and do good unto them.

Expect long days and short nights

This one is so true and there is not a pastor reading this that did not shake their head in agreement. The new convert must recognize that storms are on the horizon and the days may seem long and the nights seem to pass by quickly. The best thing you can do is pray.

Expect stress

Stress is inevitable in the Christian life. Jesus dealt with stress and worry on numerous occasions, and he gave us the best weapon to combat stress and anxiety, prayer.

Expect Mistakes and failures

The best way to deal with this is through prayer. Confess your sins, your failures and your mistakes, go to God in prayer. This is the best way to make a bad situation come out on the good side of the ledger. The bible prompts us to be people of prayer.

Expect the unexpected

The new convert must realize that Christianity will not be lived by reading your daily day planner. Life will throw you curve balls and gremlins are awaiting each and every corner it seems. When the unexpected occurs, pray my friend; just pray.

Expect to be deployed

God is going to put you in the battle; you can prepare yourself by praying. This is the best way for anyone to be prepared for the Christian life, pray. Jesus tells you to pray and he expects you to pray.

If a person has been born again, prayer will be a part of their life. It is expected and essential to his or her survival.

1 – Prayer is Needful & Expected

2 – Prayer is Natural & Evident

In the early church new born believers were intertwined with older believers and they were joined at the hip in 4 areas:

1 – Continued steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine

2 – Continued steadfastly in Fellowship

3 – Continued steadfastly in Breaking of Bread

4 – Continued steadfastly in Prayers

In understanding the fourth point of this text; we need to break the meaning of the text down to clarify its original meaning:

a. The Designation of their Prayers

The early church prayed specifically to God. The people were intentional in praying to God, not Mary, not a priest, but to God.

b. The Destination of their Prayers

The early church of prayed in the Jewish synagogues, since this was the designated place of prayer and worship. It was there desire to go to a place that was set apart or suited for prayer.

Usually it was the synagogue or if not there, it would have been out in the open air, a place located outside of the city. Often these places were located along the banks of a stream or the shore of a sea. In conducting their prayers here, they would find water to wash and purify their hands before a time of prayer.

In the bible we find the word “prayer or prayers” 36 times and all of them are in the NT:

Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer [4335] and fasting.

Matthew 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer [4335]; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer [4335], believing, ye shall receive.

Mark 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer [4335] and fasting.

Mark 11:17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer [4335]? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer [4335] to God.

Luke 19:46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer [4335]: but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Luke 22:45 And when he rose up fRomans prayer [4335], and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer [4335] and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers [4335].

Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer [4335], [being] the ninth [hour].

Acts 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer [4335], and to the ministry of the word.

Acts 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers [4335] and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Acts 10:31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer [4335] is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer [4335] was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Acts 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer [4335] was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted [thither].

Acts 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer [4335], a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

Romans 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers [4335];

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer [4335];

Romans 15:30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in [your] prayers [4335] to God for me;

1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer [4335]; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Ephesians 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers [4335];

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer [4335] and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer [4335] and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer [4335], and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is [one] of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers [4335], that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers [4335];

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers [4335], intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1 Timothy 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers [4335] night and day.

Philippians 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers [4335],

Philippians 1:22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers [4335] I shall be given unto you.

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers [4335] be not hindered.

1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer [4335].

Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers [4335] of saints.

Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers [4335] of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers [4335] of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

a. Prayer is Important

b. Prayer is intimate

c. Prayer is intertwining

I. The Christians at Pentecost

Here we find that the great commission was being swiftly fulfilled by the apostle Peter and the other apostles. Peter preached the word, the sinners got saved, then baptized, discipled, and then introduced into the local fellowship of the church. The greatest aspect of their conversion is that they continued, that is an awesome thing when it comes to serving God. The greatest testimony one can have is that they continue, that is a noble and mighty thing to do.

A) The Apostles Doctrine

We must grow through the studying and teaching of the Word of God. The Word of God is our food and our light. It is our sword for fighting the devil, and our water for keeping a clean and pure life. It is vital to continue in the reading and studying of God’s Word.

B) The Apostles Fellowship

This is more than just getting together, it is much more in-depth, it is sharing with one another. Discipleship and Stewardship go hand in hand for true Christians. Often in the New Testament fellowship is associated with giving. The early church sold their possessions and had all things in common. I don’t think this was a requirement, but it enlightens us of the love they had for God and each other.

2 Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and [take upon us] the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Phl 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

C) The Breaking of Bread

This would have implied participating in “The Lord’s Supper”. It is debated that the early church may have ended most meals by participating in The Lords Supper. The early believers would honor the Lord by breaking the bread and drinking juice from the cup. It says that they continued in doing all of these things. I hope we understand the importance of coming together and participating in the Lords Supper.

D) Also in Prayers

In becoming new born Christians we have an innate desire to commune with God. This desire comes fRomans being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that prods us to have interaction with God.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

1 – Prayer offers us Direction

2 – Prayer offers us Depth

3 – Prayer offers us Deliverance

In praying the new Christian learns to trust God rather than his emotions or his feelings. It is typical for a new believer to trust his feelings and to try and live off of exhilaration or enthusiasm. If we truly learn to pray we can overcome this mistake. It takes more than emotional exhilaration, it takes true depth. As new born Christians we must grow, this comes significantly through prayer.

1 – Prayer acknowledges the Lordship of Christ

2 – Prayer gives evidence that we truly know God

3 – Prayer acknowledges our weakness and failures

4 – Prayer acknowledges that we trust God and that He is able

5 – Because we believe the Word, then we pray.

6 – Because we pray, we better understand the Word

It is noteworthy that the early church was taught to study the word, fellowship, participate in the Lords Supper, but also to pray. We must never cease to remember it is our job to teach new Christians to pray.

II. The Conversion of Paul

Acts 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord.

Acts 9:11 And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

A) His Change

1- Aggressive Leader

2 – Humble Follower

The three days that Paul was blinded and waiting to hear from God one more time were spent in fasting and praying. He had just gotten saved and immediately became a man of prayer.

B) His Cry

1 – Fasting

2 – Praying

Psalms 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Psalms 130:1 [[A Song of degrees.]] Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.

Psalms 130:2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

In the New Testament Paul prayed over 50 times.