On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, followers of Jesus were gathered together in Jerusalem to pray. They had no idea what to expect; they only knew what Jesus had told them: “Wait until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
That first church prayer meeting resulted in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit so great that it enabled every person present to hear, see, and experience personally the power of God! That day alone, 3,000 people were saved.
Our tendency as modern-day believers is to leave the Pentecost story in the history books. After all, we think, God was just beginning to establish His church; He had to do something amazing like that!
Too many years of powerful encounters and answers to prayer have convinced me: that kind of thinking is nothing more than a cop-out. God’s power is alive and well, and the only reason we don’t see more of it is that we don’t pray for it!
My life has been powerfully impacted by prayer. The prayers I pray and the prayers others pray for me bear amazing fruit. There are countless stories I could share of God’s faithfulness to answer prayer, but I want to remind you, instead, of God’s stories.
Prayer Causes Grace, Power, Boldness, Signs & Wonders to Abound / Acts 4:31ff “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness… and with great power, the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”
Prayer Brings Angelic Visitations, Even to the Unsaved / Acts 10: Cornelius, an unsaved but God-fearing centurion of an Italian Regiment, was praying at the ninth hour of the day (3 pm) and “saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!... Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Send for Peter...he will tell you what you must do.’”
Prayer Results in Visions and Trances/ Acts 10:9ff “The next day, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour (noon)” and fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and was given a vision of clean and unclean animals, then heard the Spirit speak to him that he should not call any man clean or unclean. This encounter convinced him that even Cornelius’ household could be saved and filled with the Spirit!
God Desires to Answer Prayer: Acts 10:34 says “God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him… whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Prayer Brings Freedom from Demonic Spirits / Mark 9:28-29 “His disciples asked (Jesus) privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’”
Prayer Provides Direction
Acts 1:24-25 “And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell.’”
Acts 13:2 “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”
Prayer Ignites Salvation / Acts 16:13-15 “And on the sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. A certain woman named Lydia...opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.” She and her household were then baptized.
Prayer Breaks Chains and Brings Deliverance:
Acts 12 “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers, and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying ‘Arise quickly!’ And his chains fell off his hands… So (Peter) went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.”
Acts 16:23-34 “At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” As a result, the prison guard and his entire family were saved.
Prayer & Fasting Activate Prophetic Words / Acts 27:27:20-44 “After a long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said… there stood by me this night an angel of God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar, and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you’… so it was that they all escaped safely to land.”
Prayer Paves the Way for Preaching the Word / Colossians 4:2-3 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving, meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the Word, to speak the mystery of Christ..”
Prayer Releases Peace / Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Prayer Imparts Spiritual Gifts / 2 Timothy 1:6 “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Prayer Heals People / James 5:15 “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven.”
Prayer Heals the Land / 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Prayer Raises the Dead / 1 Kings 17:21-22 “And (Elijah) stretched himself out on the child three times and cried out to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.’ Then the Lord heard...and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.”
Praying in the Spirit Aligns You with God’s Perfect Will and Strengthens You in Times of Weakness / Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Sprit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Prayer is Your Key to Receiving from God / 1 John 3:22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
Prayer Enables Us to Encounter Jesus / Revelation 1:10ff “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet… then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst (of them) One like the Son of Man..”
Prayer is Your Doorway to Greater Spiritual Experiences / Revelation 4:1ff “After these things I looked, and behold a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.”
The Bible speaks for itself. The more you see how God answers prayer - straight from the pages of His own Word - the greater your level of expectation will be for your own life. God never changes. He’s still in the business of doing miracles.
What are you expecting? Have you seen the power of answered prayer in your own life recently? Which one of these stories speaks to you today?
Drop me a note or leave a comment on the blog to encourage others!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.