Prayer and the Key Christian

Bible Book: Acts  11 : 1-12
Subject: Prayer; Christian Prayer Life
Series: It Was Just A Prayer Meeting
[Editor's Note: All scripture in this sermon is from the KJV.]

In the church we will always have numerous types of people, but in our study today we will focus on 2 distinct types of people:

1 – Open Minded Prayer Warriors

2 – Close Minded History Holders

In Acts 10: 14 God taught Peter that it was important for the gospel to be shared with the gentiles. At first Peter told the Lord no, but he was open minded to the will of God and therefore the gentiles would be grafted into the family of God.

Peter was a door opener for the Glory of God; he literally had the keys that would be used to share salvation with all of mankind. In Acts 2 we find him opening the door of faith to the Jews. In Acts 8 he opened the door of faith to the Samaritans and in Acts 10 he extended an open door to the Gentiles.

One thing we must understand God’s message will never change, nor will his mandates ever change concerning sin and salvation, but we must adapt to his methods and his will. Peter was a key Christian and in being such he would face numerous people that would oppose his methods and his approach.

The church is filled with people looking to embrace the future with open minds but others that only see the future in the rearview mirror.

Point and Invest

Like the two high school friends who met up after many years. Jack asked his friend how things were going and he said, “Well, one day I opened the Bible at random and dropped my finger on a word – it happened to be oil – so I invested in oil. Boy did those wells gush! Then a couple weeks later, I did it again, and my finger pointed to gold, so I invested in gold and those mines really produced. Today, I’m as rich as Rockefeller!”

Jack was so impressed, he ran back to his hotel and opened his Gideon Bible, flipped it open, and dropped his finger down. He opened his eyes and there under his finger were the words: Chapter Eleven.
This story is a great reminder to us that prayer isn’t just a series of requests, but ultimately requires a more passionate desire on our part. Asking is the start, but it isn’t the finish.

I. Peters Contenders

The Lord had instructed Peter to eat unclean food with a gentile man and he obeyed God and did not fear man. Upon coming back to Jerusalem he was faced with heated opposition, but Peter refused to be narrow minded in the face of God’s revealed will.

A. Opportunity of the Gentiles – No Distinction

Acts 11:1 – “And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.”

B. Opposition to the Gentiles – Noticeable Division

Acts 11:2 – “And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,”

C. Orientation for the Gentiles – Natural Direction

Acts 11:3 – “Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.”

The Pine Wood Derby

Peggy, a single mother, told the story of her little boy, Gilbert, who came home from a Cub Scout meeting charged with creating a pine wood derby car. He was supposed to give all the materials to dad, but that was something he couldn’t do.

Mom did her best to read him the directions, and the boy did his best to create a car. The car was a bit lopsided, but not having seen any of the other cars yet, Gilbert was pretty proud of what he had created all on his own.

When the big day came, it was pretty obvious that he was the only one who had not had the help of a loving father or grandfather. And to top it off, he was the only one with a mom by his side.

Amazingly, after all the elimination rounds, the race came down to Gilbert’s car and the sleekest looking car there. Gilbert asked to pray before they began, which he did quietly for a very long minute and a half. Then he said, “Okay, I’m ready.”

Gilbert stood at the top of the ramp with his heavenly Father by his side as he watched his car wobble down the ramp, and finish a fraction of a second ahead of the other car.

After the race, the Cub Master came over and asked Gilbert, “So you prayed to win, huh?”

“No sir,” Gilbert said, “That wouldn’t be fair to ask God to beat out someone else. I just asked him to make it so I don’t cry when I lose.”

That little boy knew how to pray with right motives. If he’d prayed to win, he would have prayed to spend it on his pleasures. Instead, he prayed for a right attitude, and God was delighted to give him that and more.

Peter was open minded to the will and the word of God. He was willing to pray with an open mind and was going to display the proper attitude.

II. Peters Clarity

Peter did not hesitate in giving his opposition the truthful details of his past actions in dealing with Cornelius. I am confident that one of the reasons many churches are not going forward today is that many refuse to let go of old dead crusty tradition and vain religion. Peter was not going to allow the past to dictate his future service for God. He was readily willing to bury the past at the bidding of God’s voice.

Act 11:4 KJV - But Peter rehearsed [the matter] from the beginning, and expounded [it] by order unto them, saying,

A. Peter’s Vision

Acts 11:5-6 – “I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.”

B. Peter’s Voice

Acts 11:7 – “And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.”

C. Peter’s Violation

Acts 11:8 – “But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.”

D. Peters Victor

Acts 11:9-10 – “But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common. And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.”

E. Peter’s Visitors

Acts 11:11 – “And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.”

F. Peter’s Voyage

Acts 11:12 – “And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:”

The Proper Posture of Praying

"The proper way for man to pray," said Deacon Lemuel Keyes; "The only proper attitude is down upon his knees."

"Nay, I should say the way to pray," said Reverend Doctor Wise, "Is standing straight with outstretched arms with rapt and upturned eyes."

"Oh, no, no, no," said Elder Snow, "such posture is too proud." A man should pray with eyes fast-closed and head contritely bowed."

"It seems to me his hands should be austerely clasped in front. With both thumbs pointing to the ground," said Reverend Doctor Blunt."

"Last year I fell in Hodgkin's well headfirst," said Cyril Brown. "With both my heels a-stickin' up, my head a-pointing' down; And I done prayed right then and there; best prayer I ever said, The prayin'est prayer I ever prayed, a-standin' on my head."

The real key is not the positioning of our praying but the bending of our hearts to become obedient to God’s will. Peter was focused on serving his God and desired to honor his will in all areas of his life.

III. Peter’s Character

A. His Eyes – See the Vision

Peter had eyes that were proper for a key Christian. The man was willing to have a vision and this vision would prove to be beneficial to the church. God will only use people that have the vision to see the need. It is one thing to come to church and be fed and worship, but altogether more to come and see the need of this lost and dying world. Peter could have argued with God and his new gentile friend may have died and went to hell, but thankfully he embraced the will of God.

Matthew 9:36-38 – “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the labourers [are] few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

1. Some are Spiritually Dead

Unless we have truly been saved we will never see this mighty vision for a lost and dying world.

John 3:3 – “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

2. Some are Spiritually Deficient

2 Peter 1:5-9 – “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

3. Some are Spiritually Distracted

Luke 9:57-62 – “And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain [man] said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his] head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

4. Some are Spiritually Divided

2 Timothy 4:10 – “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.”

Titus 2:12 – “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

Mathew 6:24 – “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

B. His Ears – Hear the Voice

A key Christian will have ears to hear the voice, not only eyes to see the vision. I wonder how many of us have heard the voice of God that prompts us to go. It is vital for the sake of the gospel for us to hear the voice. We live in such a busy and noise age, everywhere we turn there is noise, lots of noise; let’s make sure in the midst of all of this clacking and clanging we can hear from God. It is vital that we are sensitive to that still small voice that wants to guide our steps.

1. The Cry from Above

Mar 16:15 KJV - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

2. The Cry from Beneath

Luke 16:27-28 – “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”

Hebrews 3:15 – “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”

3. The Call from Without

Acts 16:9-10 – “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.”

It seems as if the church today is more concerned about taking care of themselves rather than a lost and dying world. One day the church will have to answer to God why we were lackadaisical to the souls of mankind. The world is a flock that needs shepherding and a field that needs harvesting.

C. His Feet – Make the Venture

A key Christian is readily recognized by his eyes that see the vision, his ears that hear the voice, but also by his feet that make the venture. Peter was not only obedient with his ears and his eyes, but he put feet to his prayer. The world will never be reached by giving God our eyes and our ears only, God must have our feet also, and someone must go.

Rom 10:15 KJV - And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Isa 6:8 KJV - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.

1. – Peter’s Wayward Feet (Andrew led him to Jesus)

2. – Peter’s Wet Feet (Walking on water)

3. – Peter’s Washed Feet (Jesus washed his feet)

4. – Peters Wandering Feet (He denied the Lord_

5. – Peter’s Willing Feet (Willing to go share the Gospel)

D. His Lips – Shares the Victory

It is great to have eyes that see the vision, hears that hear the voice, feet that make the venture, but it is wonderful to have lips that share the victory. Peter went to the house of Cornelius and shared the word of God. It is sad that many of us are unwilling to speak up for God when the Holy Spirit is leading us to share the word with a lost person. The lost may never become saints unless we are obedient to God’s leading.

Act 10:43 KJV - To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.


Some were trying to close the door but thankfully Peter was willing to open the door of salvation to the gentiles.

My Way is better than your way:

One guy was sharing the gospel with some lost people and after he was done a legalist told him that he did not like the way that he had shared. The good Christian man said I know my way isn’t perfect; tell me how you do it? The legalist hesitated and said well actually I can’t say that I share the gospel at all. Then the good Christian man said, "Well I like my way much better than your way."

"...Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons -- but they are helpless against our prayers."

Sidlow Baxter:

The church needs Key Christians that are willing to prayerfully open doors for the sake of the gospel.

1. Share the Gospel Defiantly

2. Share the Gospel Deliberately