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.
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.
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
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
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.