#260 (19/11/06)
The Prayers Jesus Prayed Part III

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

BETH TWITTY
You all who know her name, it’s become a household word. Beth Twitty, it was a year ago that her daughter went missing. Her daughter is Natalee Holloway. And this church prayed for them, still praying for Beth Twitty. It’s very appropriate that she is with us on a prayer Sunday. Today I’m anxious for her to be here to tell us how she is turning scars into stars, turning her hurt into a halo by creating a new foundation that can help a lot of people, and protect them when they travel.

Special Music

Hymn
" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" I to the Hills Will Lift My Eyes "
" Sweet Hour of Prayer "

Anthem
" If God be For Us "

Solo
ERHU SOLO – MA XIAOHUI – “Traditional Chinese Song”
SOLO – BETH GROOMBRIDGE – “Because He Lives”
ERHU SOLO – MA XIAOHUI – “Moon Night”

The Message

For the last several weeks we have been talking about the various prayers that Jesus prayed. One of the first times we hear about Jesus praying is when he was baptized. In the gospel of Luke, we read where Jesus went down to the Jordan River to be baptized. As Jesus was praying, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and filled Him. The Holy Spirit comforts. The Holy Spirit guides and the Holy Spirit empowers. Some people have asked me, "What is the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost?" The truth is they are one and the same thing. The old English didn't refer to the Holy Spirit, it referred to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is part of the prime nature of God, and is the extension of God coming to give us the emotional strength and power to do what He has called us to do. That's what the Holy Spirit does.

Throughout the gospels, Christ continued to teach His apostles. He instructed them and He taught them how to pray, "Our Father who art in heaven," you all know the Lord's Prayer. Throughout His ministry, Jesus continued to tell His apostles that He would send a comforter to them to help them, guide them, empower them, and to be with them. Not until Christ rose from the dead, appeared to the apostles, and not until Thomas stuck his fingers in the side of Christ and said "Yes Lord, I believe," and after Christ walked with hundreds of people, and was witnessed by many, He then ascended into heaven in bodily form.

It was at that time, that His apostles found themselves in an upper room. Some traditions say that it was the same upper room in which Jesus had His last supper with them. The Bible records that they were there all together. You can read this account in Acts chapter 2 and 3. It is in the New Testament right after the gospels. The apostles were in the upper room and the Bible records that the Holy Spirit descended upon them, and they all received a special gift. The gift was to be able to instantly speak a foreign language. You know, I have prayed for that gift my entire life! I've never been blessed with that gift. The time I prayed it most was in my Hebrew tests, and my Greek tests. God never gave it to me; He made me work for it! There's a reason He make us work for some things and He just gives it to other people at a particular time and place.

The reason God gave these men the gift to be able to speak in foreign languages, was because the Jewish faith was celebrating a tremendous feast, called Pentecost. There were people from all over the known world, from every corner of the Roman Empire, and the Persian Empire. They were all there and they all spoke different languages. The languages the apostles were given were all different. So there were various tribes and people visiting and celebrating Pentecost, also known as the Harvest Festival. The Holy Spirit came and gave them that gift of language. More importantly, the Holy Spirit gave them the ability and the strength and the courage to leave the upper room. I believe they were there in fear and in hiding. I believe they were hiding because they had witnessed Jesus Christ, the Son of God crucified. The apostles knew their heads were on the wanted posters. The only way they knew to save themselves was to hide. So, they were hiding in this upper room. When the Holy Spirit came, he gave them not only the gift to speak in a foreign language, but, rather something I believe which was even more miraculous. The Holy Spirit gave them courage. He gave them the courage to leave their hiding place, and go into the streets where their lives would be at risk. They received courage to share the message of the teachings that Jesus Christ had given to them. So, they shared the message of Christ. The Bible records that day alone, three thousand people became believers. Afterwards all three thousand believers went home to every single corner of the globe. The message of Jesus Christ on that day was literally spread around the world.

Every single one of the apostles ultimately died for their faith by execution. However, the Christian faith couldn't be extinguished. By the shedding of human blood, the Christian faith continued to spread. Because the Holy Spirit of God is real, it touches people's hearts and it guides them, it empowers them, and it strengthens them. When we face the most challenging and difficult and frightening of times, and as we come before God in prayer, He will send His Holy Spirit to comfort us. He will send His Holy Spirit to guide us. He will send His Holy Spirit to empower us.

The Holy Spirit comes to us through prayer. Today is a time for us to pray. The prophet Isaiah writes these wonderful words in his 56th chapter of Isaiah. He says, "My house shall be a house of prayer for all people." That is what the Crystal Cathedral is all about. It is a house of prayer. It is place where you can come to pray. When we pray the Holy Spirit comes upon us. Some people feel that presence; other people don't necessarily instantaneously feel some miraculous thing, but they just know they feel better.

The Holy Spirit works in different ways for different people. The Holy Spirit has been alive and at work in this congregation and this church. Today we are having a time of prayer.

Our prayer goes out to the entire world. It's not limited to just this congregation. Today we're launching a Prayer Community on our website, which is opening the doors of the church allowing all people to come into this church and pray. We are establishing a Prayer Community where you can go to the website and you can request prayer. We're establishing a Prayer Community where not only can you request prayer, you can pray for others too. Beth Twitty signed up today. She is asking for your prayers. If you want to pray for her you can sign up on the webpage. You can also create a prayer journal for yourself. You can pray for her, and she will know how many people went to the Prayer Community and prayed for her. It will be a way for you to let her know that you're supporting her.

This Prayer Community is something that is going to give you many opportunities to be able to experience the presence of God in your life. Truly, we are a church without walls and we are moving in a technological age and time today where we have virtual doors that enable us to become a global church. The mission of this Church is to connect you to Jesus Christ and a group of positive like minded believers.

On this website you can submit requests for prayer. You can ask for a confidential prayer team who will pray for you. You can respond electronically to the prayer requests of others; you can maintain your own prayer journal of your prayer requests, responses received, and people you have prayed for. You can develop spiritual friendships with other participants and you can grow in your understanding of prayer through online resources. We are launching it today. There's never been anything as interactive, in prayer that has wider ramifications than this today. I'm excited about prayer!

And so I encourage you today to go online to http://www.hourofpower.org/ and register to participate in this fabulous community of praying people. Pray for Beth Twitty, and pray for other people that touch your heart.

Many of you have prayer requests and for those of you who have prayer requests I want you to know I am going to pray for every single one of them. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that I am blessed by praying for others more then the people I pray for are blessed. If you feel that way you can pray for others as well. When you pray you will truly receive the power of the Holy Spirit. It will come in the form of a comfort, it will come in the form of guidance, and it will come in the form of empowerment. That's what the Holy Spirit does.

Let us pray:

We are here oh Lord, with our prayers. We believe You know our prayers. Send your Holy Spirit to comfort, to guide, and to empower us. We thank you Lord for what you are doing in this church, in your church around the world, and every corner of this globe. We thank you Lord, that we are part of this family, the family of God. We love you Lord. Amen.


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