The Power of Prayer Releases Word Ministry and Power Ministry
Summary: The world’s half billion or more Pentecostals and charismatics believe that God’s power is released in believers through their personal experience of Pentecost. That is true, but an additional key to the release of that power is often overlooked, and that key is prayer.
I once did an in-depth study of the Book of Acts in which I examined the first ten “moves” of God that led to the saving of souls. I found from the record of Acts that nine of those ten divine outpourings were associated with a notable healing, miracle, or other supernatural manifestation. For example:
•• In Acts 2:1-4 we see the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, resulting in 3,000 persons being saved and water baptized (vs. 41).
•• In Acts 3:2-10 we see the paralytic healed near the temple. This so astounded the onlookers that another 2,000 turned to the Lord (Acts 4:4).
•• In Acts 5:12-14 we see the apostles doing “many signs and wonders”, with the results that “multitudes ... [were] added to the Lord”.
•• In Acts 8:5-8 Philip preached in Samaria, and his ministry was supernaturally confirmed with miracles, exorcisms, and healings. The response to this heaven-sent outpouring was that many “gave heed” to Philip’s message and there was “great joy” in the city and numerous conversions.
•• In Acts 9:32-35 God used Peter to heal the paralytic Aeneas, with the result that“All [in Lydda and Sharon] turned to the Lord.”
•• In Acts 9:40-42 Peter was empowered by God to raise the dead woman Dorcas. The response to this supernatural event, as in the previous illustrations, was that “many [in Joppa] believed in the Lord.”
•• More examples from Acts could be given. But those above are surely sufficient to establish the central emphasis of our message today — that is, that (1) the Word of God ministered (2) in Pentecostal power will lead to harvests of souls. We will especially note in further Scriptural examples that this Word-in-power ministry is energized and made effective (3)through prayer.
1 Thessalonians 1:5, KJV Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power...
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
•• I recall a Sunday service in which, during the worship time, a young man came to the microphone with a word of knowledge. He said, “The Lord has shown me that someone is here this morning needing to be saved. And you know who you are, because before coming to church this morning you drank two beers.” Well, a startled man near the front immediately raised his hand and acknowledged that he was that two-beer man! Two elders took him to a counseling room, where he was willingly led to salvation in Jesus Christ.
•• Many similar testimonies could be given of God’s manifestation of His supernatural power leading to the saving of souls. Earlier we looked at numerous illustrations of this in the Book of Acts.
•• But the important thing for us today is not just to say, “Wow, that’s great.” The key issue is this: HOW DO WE Christian believers today get to the place of ministering in this Holy-Ghost, soul-saving power? I see three major keys in the Scriptures:
1) KNOW THE WORD of God.
Jesus said His words were “spirit and life” (John 6:63). Remember, it is “not in word only”. That says that there must be the word, but not just the word (we also must experience the power of God).
•• Know the Word of God, the Bible. In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), Jesus told His disciples to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” They needed to know and to share the WORD of the Lord, because His words have power.
• Do you know the truths Jesus commanded and taught them? They’re in the Gospels. Read them, study them, memorize them, share them and other Bible truths with those whom God has placed within your influence.
• Read the Bible to your children, to your grandchildren. Fill their hearts with God’s Word from early on. My wife and I read the bible to our four children during their formative years. From early childhood they heard God's Word. And now, as adults, all four are actively serving the Lord and love His word the bible.
2) BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Receive power to be witnesses (that is, Holy Spirit-empowered witnesses).
Luke 24:47-49 ...repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.
•• Those apostles were well trained by Jesus. They were full of His Word. But He still told them to“stay [in Jerusalem] ... until you have been clothed with power from on high.” To be well trained for ministry and full of God’s Word is wonderful, but it’s not enough! They needed the “power from on high” before Jesus would release them to go forth and fulfill the Great Commission.
•• Christ's Church today has the same need of that same power. Sadly, today many sincere evangelical Christians disobey this command of Jesus to His Church. They go forth to preach the Word, but too often they ignore (or in some cases actively preach against) the all-important power of Pentecost.
Acts 1:4,5,8 ...Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit ...  you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
•• As in Luke 24: “Wait ... you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit ... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” And they did indeed receive this power soon thereafter at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
•• They were already born of the Spirit. Jesus was well aware of that, having been the One who had previously "breathed" the Holy Spirit into them (John 20:22). Jesus was fully aware of the crucially important difference between being born again of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) and being baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5,8 above). It was this latter, the power of Pentecost, that Jesus knew they yet needed, and therefore He told them to wait for it, then to go forth and minister. [P.S. May I add that their "waiting" was a one-time thing, until that first New Testament Day of Pentecost arrived. Since that time, Christians do not need to wait. You may come to Jesus as Savior and immediatey look to Him as your Baptizer in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11).]
•• They experienced Pentecost. They received power from on high. And they went forth in that power and saw the amazing fruit that I mentioned at the start of this message.
•• But there was one other element in their experience — one that is too often overlooked by Christians. And that is PRAYER. This Pentecostal power to speak God’s Word and see great results is born out of a heart and life of prayer. And to that all-important issue we now turn.
Acts 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer...
•• The initial Acts 2 Pentecost occurred in an atmosphere of prayer. In Acts 1:8 Jesus promised this Holy Ghost power. In Acts 2 they received it. In between, they were seen to be “constantly in prayer”. The prayer preceded the Pentecostal outpouring.
Acts 4:24, 29-31 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God...  “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  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.
•• For Peter, John, and many others this was a subsequent filling, a replenishment of the anointing of the Spirit. They had first been filled with the Spirit in Acts 2:4. Here again there was for them a “filling” with the Holy Spirit, followed again by bold speaking, healings, signs and wonders. In response to what? — “after they prayed”! (vs. 31) Prayer preceded this further great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them and through them. This is a clear illustration of the power of the prayer of faith to precede and to stir a move of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 9:40-42 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up...  This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.
•• Peter raised the dead woman Dorcas, and many people in Joppa believed in the Lord as a result. Again, what preceded this miracle and its soul-saving fruit? The answer — “He got down on his knees and prayed.”
Acts 28:8-9 [The chief’s] father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.  When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.
•• A healing revival broke out on the island after Paul healed the chief’s father. What was the context, the “trigger”, to this revival? The answer — “...after prayer [Paul] ... healed him.”
•• The late prophet Tom Edmondson, a gracious and humble man of God, was greatly used by the Lord in spiritual gifts. He once told me that prior to every church service he would go to the preservice prayer time and pray essentially like this: “Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people.” And God did use him mightily and often in Pentecostal power.
And God will use you mightily in Pentecostal power if you follow the biblical pattern:
1) Be men and women of the Word, of the Bible. Read it, study it, speak it.