Prayer Grows The Church

“When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.'” Matthew 9:36–38

Since the City of Angels Church was planted by 42 disciples from Portland, Oregon on May 6, 2007, the Lord has blessed our prayers with an incredible harvest of souls! Our congregation is now having close to 800 on Sundays, a contribution of $25,000 per week, and God is adding “to our number daily” through baptisms, restorations and place memberships. (Acts 2:47)

In his worst moment, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane prays for the church

Of special note, almost 125 disciples have been sent out by the Spirit to plant churches in Honolulu (2008), New York (2008), Portland (2009), San Diego (2010), London (2010), and Sao Paulo (2011), as well as to strengthen churches in Chicago, Hilo, Kiev, Phoenix, Santiago, Syracuse, and Washington DC. Collectively, in less than five years, “the 42” have multiplied into over 1,500 disciples with a combined attendance nearing 2,500!

A few days ago as I was reading the book of Acts, I was reminded that prayer was of the highest priority to the disciples. Prayer moves God. In turn, our sovereign God moves and impacts men by His Spirit, His angels, His Word and His providence. This is how the early church grew so dynamically! Let the following prayers by our first century brothers inspire us by their ensuing impact, as well as serving as a pattern and upward call as we strive to build God’s church here in Los Angeles and around the world in this generation.

Prayer: Acts 1:14 “[The apostles] all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

Impact: Acts 2:41 “Those who accepted [Peter’s] message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

Prayer: Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Impact: Acts 2:47 “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Prayer: Acts 3:1 “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer — at three in the afternoon.”

Impact: Acts 4:4 “But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.”

Prayer: Acts 4:29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your Word with great boldness.”

Impact: Acts 4:31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.”

The Single sisters strike for the 3rd week in a row, baptizing Selena!

Prayer: Acts 6:3–4 “Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.”

Impact: Acts 6:7 “So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

Dustin zealously leads the church in worship after Kiesha placed membership and JB got restored to the fellowship!

Prayer: Acts 7:59–60 “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.'”

Impact: Acts 8:4, 12 “Those who had been scattered [by the great persecution begun at Stephen’s death] preached the Word wherever they went… [Many] were baptized, both men and women.”

Prayer: Acts 9:13 “‘Lord,’ Ananias answered, ‘I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem.'”

Impact: Acts 9:18 “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized…”

Prayer: Acts 10:4, 9 “[Cornelius], your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God… About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.”

Impact: Acts 10:24, 47–48 “Cornelius…called together his relatives and close friends. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Acts 12:5 “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”

Impact: Acts 12:14, 16, 24 “When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ …But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished… The Word of God continued to increase and spread.”

Prayer: Acts 13:3 “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

The church rejoiced as JB Firman was restored to the Lord!

Impact: Acts 13: 12, 49; 14:1, 21 “Immediately mist and darkness came over [the false prophet Elymas], and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord… The Word of the Lord spread through the whole region… At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed… They preached the good news in [Derbe] and won a large number of disciples.”

Prayer: Acts 16:13 “On the Sabbath, we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who were gathered there.”

Impact: Acts 16:14–15 “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message…She and the members of her household were baptized.”

Prayer: Acts 16:25 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

Impact: Acts 16:33 “At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.”

In the 1st 9 weeks of the year, we’ve seen 11 souls added to God’s church, the highest attendances, and had the highest contributions in our 3 years!

Prayer: Acts 18:9–10 “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent…because I have many people in this city.'”

Impact: Acts 18:11 “So Paul stayed for a year and a half teaching them the Word of the Lord.”

Prayer: Acts 20:36 “When Paul had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.”

Impact: Acts 21:13 “Paul answered, ‘I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.'”

Prayer: Acts 23:11 “The following night, the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.'”

Impact: Acts 28:30–31 “For two whole years, Paul stayed in [Rome] in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance, he preached the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

The book of Acts chronicles the early church from the ascension of Christ in Acts 1 in approximately 30 AD to Paul’s imprisonment in Acts 28 around 60 AD. One of the letters Paul writes during this imprisonment was to the Colossian Church. He wrote, “We always thank God when we pray for you… [for] all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it.” Clearly in the mind of Paul, prayer propelled and then sustained the evangelization of the world in the first century. So City of Angels Church, let us continue to fall on our knees, calling on the same Spirit to empower us to boldly preach Christ in all nations

 

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