Ananias lays his hands on Saul and he sees. Turning point of the early Church. Prayer meetings — people ignore them. Any of us could be hindered. Satan can impedes our progress. Some many hindering spirits from Satan. Speak to God with whole heart. (Acts 9:9-11)
Speaker(s): Pastor Steven Scibelli
Sermon # 11551
6:30 PM on 9/30/2018
Acts 9:9-11, Tonight’s message will be on prayer. We’ll have a time of praying and anointing people with oil. Sacred time. God answers prayer. We have some amazing women of prayer. I was thinking of Coby today. I’m so glad she prays for me. Where is she? I lost her. She’s right in front of me! That shows you what happens to eyesight at some point. I’m so thankful that on my trips she is praying for me. She’s an amazing woman of God. I’m so glad she can correct Pastor Pete! We have many amazing women of God. I want to sound out two of them. Lisa Schaller and Linda Scibelli. They let us travel, preach – they really understand the calling on their husband’s lives and many others do here too. I was thinking of those too. Lisa Schaller is an amazing woman of God and sacrificially gives her husband over to the will of God. I think that’s incredible. And Linda? I can’t say much more about her. It’s incredible. This is a great verse on prayer. Ananias is having a prayer vision. As he’s having a vision of prayer, he’s told to go to a certain street, Straight Street, to the house of Judas in Damascus. Charles Spurgeon said it was the most monumental meeting that ever took place that Ananias goes there and lays hands on Saul of Tarsus and he receives his sight. Actually, later on, Ananias became the pastor of the Damascus church. So that was a monumental meeting, Ananias and Saul of Tarsus. What did he do but he found him praying. Obviously when you think about conversion of the Apostle Paul, Saul of Tarsus becoming the Apostle Paul, here he was breathing out threats and slaughters against the church. It was as easy for him to kill as it is for you to breathe. That’s what the commentators say about that verse.
Acts 8:1-3 and Acts 9:1-2. He was breathing out threats and slaughters. For him, it was just like breathing to destroy the church. Then God just picks him out on the road to Damascus. Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? I would think the first thing he would do after that conversion is be praying. I think I should be praying because I don’t know what is coming next. Prayer. The same Charles Spurgeon said the most difficult meeting to get people to attend is a prayer meeting. People will come to just about anything but when you say tonight’s a prayer meeting or there is going to be prayer, usually for some reason – I got to go, I have to work early or whatever it may be – but prayer seems to be something that is last on people’s list. I say it’s a little different in Africa. The most attended meeting in Africa is all night prayer. You get all night prayer and everybody is there. I don’t know why. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the warfare that’s so visible, but prayer is something that people believe in. Maybe because of illiteracy and not being able to read and write that much that prayer is very important and church services are very important. They have to rely on the preacher to hear the Bible if they can’t read or write. I was thinking all afternoon about prayer. There are two verses that kind of connect.
The first is 1 Thess. 2:18. I would have come to you again, but Satan hindered me. Let me ask you a question: If the Apostle Paul could get hindered, what about you and me? Do you think it’s possible, men on stage, that you could be hindered? There’s dead silence up here! Yes, they could. Anybody could be hindered. Paul could be hindered. What it meant Satan cut into my progress. He cut into my progress and he impeded me. He stopped me. I would have come again to you but Satan hindered me. The hindering spirits. When it comes to prayer, there are so many hindering spirits. Not just the devil and demons but maybe daily schedules. Maybe what we call a lack of success is prayer, we don’t see something happening. Maybe because of the technological advances of our society, prayer is put on the back burner. Rather than being the steering wheel of the car, it is the spare tire. It is maybe the last on somebody’s list when in the mind of God, it should be the first thing. Reading the Bible, me speaking to God and God speaking to me, that’s prayer. God hears our prayers.
How many remember the story of Haddy Wyatt? Anybody? So few people. She was a little girl going to a church in a classroom and the church started to grow. She would go home and tell her mom the pastor has such great preaching and now as a child I feel I’m being forced outside the classroom. I can’t see the preacher. She said this is really troubling me Mom. I don’t know what to do. There was an offering for a new building. She made an envelope and put something in the envelope. It just so happened that little Haddy Wyatt at about seven years old passed away from a disease. When the pastor did the funeral, resurrection service, the mother said don’t open the envelope until the service. He opened the envelope and inside were five pennies. It said this is for the new church building. It said nothing is impossible with God. It can be done! That became Temple Baptist Church, the largest church in America. Little Haddy Wyatt’s prayers. Her five cents, her faith.
Isn’t that amazing how God can confound people with our advanced education and thinking, and a little child comes along and prayers a prayer and a church is nurtured out of that prayer. It’s incredible just speaking to God with sincerity. I think that’s why he says let the little children come unto me for as such is the kingdom of God. There’s amazing humility. Prayer is important, and the enemy wants to hinder prayer. I think even the enemy can hinder prayer by having me pray for things that are not a priority with God.
I wrote down some things I know I should be praying for: 1) That I might know Jesus, Php. 3:10. I might know him more and more. 2) That I might grow as a believer and mature. 3) That I might glorify God with my life. 4) Souls would get saved. 5) Disciples would be made. 6) Churches would be planted and the gospel would be preached.
These are things to pray about, not help me to get my left sock on. I could pray about that and did tonight! It went on really quick! Praying that I can experience Jesus’ life. Praying that I would be an example to other believers. Praying that we bear fruit. Sometimes we are praying about a lot of things and maybe they are necessities and needs.
1 Tim. 2 talks about supplication which is praying for things that are a necessity and a need. Then it says prayers which is an all-embracing love for God and intercession for individual people, with thanksgiving. Do I pray about these things? Are these things on the top of my prayer list versus putting my sock on or traveling mercies or getting an upgrade on an airplane which seems to never happen to me? Coby, pray for that, okay? That I would get an upgrade on an airplane. It would be nice once and a while to stretch out instead of breathing everyone’s germs around you. Airplanes are not healthy. They just recirculate everyone’s air. Hello? I think I’ll wear a mask on this trip. They won’t let you on. Praying. We see situations develop and maybe our first intention is to do something about it. To act or to take a direction rather than just be quiet. I think Pastor Schaller is one of the most amazing men of prayer I’ve ever met. Honestly, he is. When we talk, he says we should just pray. A decision to make in the church, let’s pray together for a week and then we will decide about what we should do. It’s amazing to be with and under a man like that because you know he speaks to God. He speaks to God. This is important. Paul talked about the emphasis of prayer.
The second verse I wanted to talk about in 1 Thessalonians is 5:17. It says pray without ceasing. I searched for two hours those words today from about 9 commentators. It really doesn’t mean pray without ceasing. It doesn’t mean unbroken always constant prayer and continuity in prayer where you are always praying. That means I shouldn’t be preaching now. I should be praying. It doesn’t mean that. It means a constant attitude with dependence upon God. A constant attitude of a dependence upon God that he answers prayer and I am ready for every opportunity as the Spirit leads me in prayer. I got delivered when I studied that today. 24 hours a day? How about sleeping? Ever meet people that are a sleep in church? I wasn’t sleeping, I was praying. Okay! I’ll give you the benefit of the – I won’t say doubt cause I don’t want to doubt! Pray without ceasing. This was an initiation from the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonian churches which were under severe attack and persecution and trials and tests and difficulties. I try to figure things out before I just say God, help me.
Ps 12 help Lord for the grace man ceases and the faithful fail from the children of men. Help me! Help me! Help! Just yelling for help. After three months in Ghana, I didn’t know you are supposed to have a long term visa before you came to the country. I don’t think about those kinds of things. I just go and figured it out later. I went to the immigration guy and he was a Muslim. He said I don’t like Christians, I don’t like Americans, and after talking to you, I don’t like you. I said this is going to be interesting. Visa denied. You have to leave the country in three weeks. This is after moving everything there and having 16 people follow me. Spend money to get there and get a house and pay the rent for one year. You got three weeks; you’re leaving. I said I think I ought to ask God to do something. I went into my prayer closet in the immigration place which was a bathroom. I said God I’m giving you three choices. Notice how I said that. 1) Convert him. 2) Transfer him to another location. 3) Kill him! Maybe that was wrong but I did. Maybe I was young in the Lord. I went back two weeks later and he was in England. God was merciful. God heard my prayers because he wanted GGWO in Ghana. It began a work that spread to 25 African countries. If it stopped right there, I probably would have gone to Italy and gained 50 pounds on pizza as I said this morning! Who knows what would have happened. I would have spent all my times in pizza parlors evangelizing cooks. We prayed and had prayer meetings. This ministry was birthed in prayer. If you look at the letter to church of Ephesus which was under amazing assault.
Read Acts 19. You can see that they’re crying in the streets for two hours, great is Diana of the Ephesians. How would you like to have that as a mission field? You’re there.
Paul sends a letter to the church of Ephesus and talks about three aspects of prayer. The first aspect is that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened, that you might have a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. That you would know your calling. I want to pray that your eyes would be open so you would see who you are in Christ. That’s a prayer, isn’t it? Praying people would see who they are in Christ, who they are in the finished work. God, open their eyes.
Eph. 4:18, 1:17, eyes darkened, eyes enlightened. My prayer is that my eyes would be enlightened. Your prayer should be God, show me who I am in Christ. Yes, I know it but I need to know it.
I was thinking today I don’t have anything to say today. I have to preach 9, 11, 6:30 and then do a rap. I feel like I have nothing to say. God, would you help me. Open my eyes and my mind. Could I call in sick? We can’t call in sick to the pulpit. My stomach is not feeling well. Stop being a little baby and being anxious, fearful and living in doubt. Just go to church and God will give you something to say.
Don’t you think we don’t go through that at times? I said one time to my wife that message, nothing came out right. She said shut up. Stop analyzing your own messages. You can’t analyze your message. The Holy Spirit will show you exactly what went on. We need encouragement too. Sometimes we step off the pulpit and you have this warfare against your brain. You made no sense. I’m not looking for anything tonight. Why did you say that? Reaction. Pray that my eyes would be opened. We would see who we are in Christ. We would have a self-image in Christ. That’s our prayer for believers. The biggest problem I see in Christian’s lives and my life at times is they don’t see who God has made me to be. I become insecure, fearful, live in doubt and run away without seeing who I am in Christ. Look at the Markowski’s. They’re amazing. They never miss anything. They’re in Bible school, every church service. They’re always around. They know who they are in Christ. He’s going why did you say my name? None of your business. I just said your name. That’s Paul’s prayer. I want these people in Ephesus to see who they are in the finished work, who they are in Christ and don’t live in self-analysis, the world’s evaluation or satanic accusation. Don’t live in those things. I see who I am.
The second prayer in Eph. 3:15 is based on a couple of things. One was the love of God. That the love of God would fill their hearts. They would comprehend the Body of Christ, that they are saints. His second prayer was you see who you are in the church. A lot of times people see who they are in Christ but they never see who they are in the church, in the Body. The fullness of him that filleth all in all. That was Paul’s prayer. They would see the amazing place they had in the Body of Christ and how valuable they are as a member in particular. Do you know how valuable you are to the Body of Christ? Hello? I don’t hear much. Do you know who you are in the Body? Who am I in the Body?
His third prayer was pray for me that I might be an ambassador and proclaim the message of the gospel. I want to pray that the gospel goes forward. That people receive the gospel. That people get saved. That the mission goes on.
A number of years after P. Stevens went home to be with the Lord we went from 275 churches to 664. Hello? That’s amazing. We’re talking about planting 39 churches a year as our average.
That’s because of God using him to lay a foundation and for us to stand on that foundation and go forward. Prayer is the key to the ministry. Can prayer change your rebellious son? Could he? Could prayer change a wayward daughter? I was talking to someone on the phone today and they have problems with someone, a child. I said you know what? What do you want? Do you want long term psychological systematic counseling or should we pray? Should we pray that God could change that person’s life? That God could turn that person around? Praying. This is so important and yet it’s the last thing on the list for me. The last thing I would think about is prayer. The enemy wants to hinder it all the time. You pray for something for a number of years and you think, where’s God? God would you? You must. God do something. God says I’m doing something in you. I’m changing you. And when the time comes, I’ll change that person. You are not the person who is the author of the plan. God is not the clay. We think we are the potter and God is the clay and we will mold him every which way.
God says in Jer. 18 I am the potter and you are the what? Clay. God says pray. Behold he prayers.
Elijah was against 850 prophets in 1 Ki. 18 and he just said, Oh, God. Hear my prayer. It wasn’t more than a few seconds of prayer. Here he was all alone with 850 prophets of Baal and then God answered the prayer and Elijah won a great victory because Elijah what? Prayed.
Then he lost his idea and focus on prayer in 1 Ki. 19 and God had to bring him back again to a place of prayer as he was on Mt. Horeb. He would pray again and again. Pray, an answer comes, and then we can go this way and that way from prayer. God is saying listen, prayer is about you and I fellowshipping with one another. Prayer is a personal contact with a God that loves you. Does anyone like to talk to someone who loves them? It’s easy, isn’t it? Talking to someone that hates you doesn’t work so well. God loves me and I just want to talk to him. It doesn’t have to be this repetition.
I like this prayer: Deliver me from evil, Mt. 6. The evil of my osn, the evil of the world and the evil of the devil. Deliver me from evil. Ever pray that prayer? It’s not the neighbors. It’s evil. It’s not the situation in the country. It’s evil. It’s Poneros evil. We wrestle not against flesh and blood.
Deliver me from evil that is in me, who I am outside of Christ; the evil that is in this world in Gal. 1:4 and 6 this present world system.
The evil that the devil and the demons perpetrate in 2 Cor. 4:4. Deliver me from what? Are you with me tonight? Are hindering spirits trying to work so you lose your attention? What is she doing over there? What is he doing over there? It’s amazing. I’ve done it myself. Just get very distracted easily. It can happen. We pray and believe God. Do we believe God that he heals? Can God change a person’s attitude? Can God deliver someone from a wound of the past? Can God heal the body, the emotions, the marriage, relationships? Can God heal friendships? Can God heal children that go the wrong way? Can God draw them back? Pray for a backslider. I prayed for one guy getting in to drugs and alcohol and one night I was with the Ryan sisters – are they here? And I got arrested for giving gospel tracts out in Springfield. They handcuffed me. Imagine me being handcuffed by police for distributing gospel tracts in America? They put me in a cell and I was in the cell of the same guy I was praying for! He said oh, no. It’s Pastor Scibelli. I said I was looking for you for a long time. This is amazing! My prayer was answered by me being arrested. You say I don’t like those kinds of answers. I don’t either. I got out in a really short time. Pray for people at work. Maybe you have a difficult boss or co-worker that is always resisting everything you say. God can break down their life so they have an open heart to the gospel. He can break down King Agrippa. He can break down these people in authority.
Our life is not just a verbal praying to God but Ps 109:4 that there are all kinds of enemies against me but I am prayer. It says I give myself to prayer but “give yourself” is in italics. It’s not in the Hebrew. David says I am prayer. I’m an answer to God’s prayer. It’s not about how much I should pray, how often or how intense I should pray. I’m just a prayer to God. That’s amazing. We pray and believe God. It’s a prayer of faith. It’s a prayer based on the finished work. It’s a prayer believing. Not to doubt. Not to have a double mind. A double minded man or woman is unstable in all their ways. The word is DIAKRINO. Have a set mind. I pray but I wonder if it’s going to happen. I don’t know. Can God do that? No, I want to believe God. In the aspect of my own life, God help me to believe.
What did the man say in Mark 9? Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. I believe in Jesus but maybe I don’t believe certain things will take place. As we pray tonight, believe God for deliverance. Believe God as you intercede for someone.
Believe God for supplication, for 1 Tim. 2:1. Certain necessities and needs you have and God knows you have and you can ask him for those things. Believe God for all embracing PROSUCHE prayer which means I love God and honor him and that’s my prayer to God. Believe God tonight. Do it with thanksgiving. You have supplication and prayer and intercession with thanksgiving. I thank God. I thank God that he listens to me. Isn’t that amazing? God listens to us and we pray and don’t underestimate the power of prayer. That’s one of Satan’s hindering spirits. That’s what Satan wants to do to tell us to think God can’t do that. We read in our prayer class that Satan fears the newest, youngest believer that prays. Even if they are born again one day and have a small prayer. Satan fears the prayers of the saints.
You say I struggle with prayer. Doesn’t everybody. Ask God to give you grace to pray 7 minutes a day. Ask for 14, 30, and develop it over a course of a year and say God, my goal is to be able to pray an hour. Couldn’t you pray with me an hour. To get on my knees or whatever position best suits us. God teach me to pray. Not how to pray. Just to pray. I pray that God would help me to pray. Amen.
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