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Message

The Life - Part 3, The Power of Prayer
Scott Williams - January 27, 2013

Message Recap


And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47

Today we were blessed to hear a message from Scott Williams, former pastor at Life Church in Oklahoma, who now serves as a consultant for businesses and ministries worldwide. He is here today to teach us about the power of a devoted prayer life.

Prayer is not about performance, but communication. It is an ongoing conversation with the Lord, a connection with the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is not about performance, but communication. It is an ongoing conversation with the Lord, a connection with the Holy Spirit. As we glimpse into the life of Daniel today, we will discover some keys to powerful prayer.

By this time in Daniel 6, Daniel has been a faithful servant for 70 years, continuously promoted and honored as a leader. As it is with promotion and elevation in the world today, Daniel’s critics soon emerge to plot against him any way they can.

Knowing that Daniel is a faithful and humble man, his critics know that they can only stumble him through trickery, so they approach King Darius, asking him to create a decree that anyone worshiping another besides the king should be thrown into a den of lions. Darius does not see the trap they are plotting and agrees to sign the decree.

1. Prayers are powerful when they are humble.

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Daniel 6:10-11

Daniel hears that the decree has been declared, yet he does not let that keep him from his daily faith practices before the Lord. He approaches the Lord’s presence on his knees in a position of worship and humility. He even leaves the windows open, as is his custom, for all to see.

…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:6,10

Daniel shows us that we must lower ourselves in order to be lifted. When we pray, we need to approach God with this same spirit of humility, know that He is God almighty, and we are not.

2. Prayers are powerful when they are specific.

Just as they have planned, Daniel’s critics find Daniel praying to God in opposition to the law, so they take him to King Darius to receive his punishment. Darius wrestles with doling out the required consequence, knowing that Daniel is a faithful man of God. But finally, he agrees that he has no choice but to send Daniel to the lions’ den. His parting words to Daniel in 6:16b are: “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”

In the morning, the King returns to check on Daniel, and he finds Daniel alive, saying:

“O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Daniel 6:21-22

Daniel prayed specifically for an angel to close the lions’ mouths, and God showed up in the den to protect His servant.

Scott shared a story about a tornado his family experienced in Oklahoma. With the disastrous storm approaching, his family hunkered down in their best protection, praying in the name of Jesus that God would protect them and their home from harm. In the storm’s aftermath, while trees and power lines were felled and every home in the neighborhood was having a new roof installed, the insurance adjuster on Scott’s house could not believe his eyes as he performed his inspection: there was absolutely no damage, a phenomenon he had never experienced in his seven years on the job.

This story can encourage all of us to pray specifically. God loves to show up and remind us of His power and provision. Just think of what would happen if every member of the Rock prayed specific prayers about reaching all of San Diego for Jesus…

…You do not have, because you do not ask God. James 4:2

3. Prayers are powerful when they are persistant.

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Daniel 6:10-11

If we pray and nothing happens, sometimes we simply give up. But Daniel shows us that we must turn to the Lord consistently, regardless of our circumstances. We must ask Him again and again with persistence. God may not answer our prayers in the way we want, but He will answer if we don’t give up.

So, what is your lion’s den? What situation makes you discouraged to the point of wanting to give up? Infertility? A wayward child? A struggling marriage? Financial hardship? Failing health? God’s Word teaches us that if we cling to Him and continue to pray with faith and persistence no matter what happens, then He will show up.

4. Prayers are powerful when they are expectant.

Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door! Expect that God is going to show up and answer when you reach out to Him. If you don’t expect it, then why should He do it?

Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door! Expect that God is going to show up and answer when you reach out to Him. If you don’t expect it, then why should He do it?

Daniel was saved from the lion’s den, restored to authority, and blessed beyond measure.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

Do you expect that God will show up in the middle of your circumstance?

Keep praying! Don’t give up on God, who has His best for you whom He loves.

The Life

This 12-part series examines what it really looks like to live a life dedicated to Jesus as we study the early church in Acts. In Part 3, special guest Scott Williams explains to us how we can turn our prayers into powerful prayers.

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