- Are you satisfied with your prayer life? If not, what changes could you make to converse with God more?
- Have you ever felt God speak to you? What was that like? What were the circumstances?
- Why do you believe God wants us to pray?
What’s up, everybody! Great to see you guys! I’m Pastor Peter & I want to
welcome you to Hope City Church! We are in a sermon series called “DIVINE
DIRECTION” – which is all about LEARNING TO DISCERN God’s will in all the
Key Areas of Life:
• Stay Single. Date. Get Married. Start a Family this year?
• Should I stick with my job? Change careers?
If you remember our anchor verse for this series came from Proverbs 16:9:
9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. – Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
And we said LONG-TERM PLANS can be over-rated—most often, God’s Spirit
directs us by giving us enough light to take the next step.
On Monday and Tuesday, I had the honor of spending those two days with one
of our Overseers here at Hope City, Rich Birch. It was a great time of planning
and praying for Hope City. We met in Orlando at the Exponential Church
As we were navigating around town, I received this error several times. NO GPS
on WAZE. It would say something like, Proceed to the Highlighted Route. And a
few times I had to pull over to the side of the road and wait for my phone to sync
up to the clouds before I would move forward. We were driving and all of a
sudden there was a fork in the road. There was no option to just keep going
straight. I had to make a decision, and in that moment, my phone said, NO GPS,
what do I do?
Some of you are driving in circles because your phone says NO GPS…. It says,
proceed to the highlighted route, but you are so lost that you don’t even know
where that route is!
As we’ve been talking about God’s DIVINE DIRECTION for your life, His plans
for your life… you may be frustrated and confused because you’re saying things
like, Peter I don’t even know where to start…
Today I want to help you learn how to turn on the SPIRITUAL GPS in your life. It
is simple, and yet there is something profound that happens when you do this.
GOD’S DIVINE DIRECTION, IS FOUND THROUGH A DIVINE CONNECTION.
This divine connection is found through PRAYER.
It’s through PRAYER that God does his Biggest & Best work. Prayer is
powerful—it is the primary way that God the Father communicates to His children
here on Earth. Let’s be real: If you don’t talk regularly with God, how do you
expect to hear from Him?
For the past 2 weeks, we looked at Paul’s missionary journey & trip to Rome.
This week, we’re going to see how God ordered the steps of the Apostle Peter in
Acts 10… in a way he didn’t expect at first and it led to a historic breakthrough
for the Kingdom of God!
So let’s look at Acts 10 page 751, it’s a story about 2 men who are praying
different prayers on the same day… and God does something remarkable that
changes their lives forever. Look with me at verse 1…
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the
Just to help you visualize, let me show you a map. At this moment, Israel is a
Roman occupied country and Caesarea was the capital of the Roman province of
Cornelius was a military man in charge of 100 Roman soldiers. And the Jews
hated the Romans—they saw them as pagan occupiers who they wanted out of
their country! Sounds like how every Floridian feels about SNOWBIRDS
right about now! GET OUT!
But Cornelius was different. Even though he wasn’t “Christian,” verse 2 says:
2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need
and prayed to God regularly.
Now we don’t know WHEN Cornelius prayed or HOW he prayed—his
POSTURE. And we don’t know if Cornelius prayed in the NIV or the KJV (NIV is
Bible in everyday language. KJV is thees & thous). We do know that Cornelius
prayed to God regularly. And here’s what I believe, if you’re taking notes:
Pt. 1 When you pray regularly, IRREGULAR things will happen on a
I find that when I don’t pray… I tend to miss out on what God is doing—GPS
Signal is lost. But have you noticed that when you begin to pray… Coincidences
happen. And you realize they’re not really coincidences?
They’re God-incidences. Something happens—we start connecting the dots
between what goes on in our day-to-day life on Earth & Heaven’s larger purpose
when we pray regularly.
Here in Acts 10: Cornelius is praying to God and verse 3 says:
3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an
angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
Now can I just say: The least likely time for me to have a vision is 3 o’ clock in
the afternoon. That’s when I want to take a nap. Anyone else? I mean: 3 in the
afternoon? That’s after lunch… you feel foggy… think about grabbing a coffee to
pick you up so you can just finish work. That’s me: I’m not really inspired at 3 in
But lucky for us: GOD ISN’T LIMITED BY OUR LIMITATIONS. When you pray
regularly… you never really know when or where or how God’s going to show up
& download some divine direction that will change the course of your life.
STORY ABOUT HOPE CITY and EVANGEL CHURCH 15k gift… 5k gift…
Pt. 1 When you pray regularly, IRREGULAR things will happen on a
Cornelius has a vision. An angel of the Lord appears to him and says
4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial
offering before God.
When I was in Israel, I had an opportunity to visit Yad Vashem… This is the
World Holocaust Remembrance Center, it was a powerful experience. At the end
of the day I ended in The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem. This is a large room
that draws your eyes up from the floor all the way to the ceiling. And in this
room, are hundreds of books… Books that contain the names of the lives that
were lost in the holocaust.
It’s a super powerful memorial—dedicated to the memory of those who lost their
You understand what a “memorial” is? It makes sure you REMEMBER what you
should never FORGET. Now let me share something with you: Here’s what I
believe about Prayer:
You may forget what you’re praying for… But God NEVER forgets! In fact, as
you pray regularly about those close to your heart… every day… It’s as if you’re
building a MEMORIAL TO GOD! Prayer by Prayer… brick by brick… book by
book and it’s beautiful to Him. It moves His heart bc it honors Him!
I started journaling my thoughts & prayers 13 years ago. I like to keep track of
dates & times when God has moved dramatically in life…
Remember that story about Evangel Church and the phone call that I got at
11:30 at night? Well, what was written in my journal that night, ended up
becoming the lyrics to Hope City’s first worship song-called My Hope!
I choose to bend my knee, I fall on my face, Because you amaze me, I
sing your praise.
In my darkest night, You shine so bright, In my deepest fear, show me You
Without writing it down, we’re prone to forget. But God NEVER forgets! As you
pray your prayers, you’re building a “memorial offering” to God.
Have you ever have God do something in your life that you know you didn’t
deserve? Or you are REAPING blessings that you didn’t SOW? This could be
the results of people’s prayers long before you were born. I can remember my
dad and mom praying for me. I’d come down early in the morning and find my
dad on his knees with his bible open on the blue chair, praying. My mom would
pray over us kids. I’ve heard stories of how my great grandfather, Eli Davis
prayed for his children, and their children, and ultimately his great grandchildren.
There have been moments in my life when I believe God has said, “Peter, the
Prayers of your Great Grandfather & Grandmother, Dad & Mom are being
answered in your life right now.” And their prayers are being answered in you
right now. In this church!
Here’s some Good News: Our prayers don’t die when we do. There’s no
expiration date on prayer. Prayer is so powerful BEYOND space & time—and
ripples into eternity in ways we don’t understand.
As you’re about to see with Cornelius.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial
offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who
is called Peter.
7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a
devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had
happened and sent them to Joppa.
Now this is significant. Bc JOPPA is right here on the MAP. You can see it’s
south of Caesarea. 32 miles, in fact. Not impressed huh… what’s 32 miles?
We hop on 75 and we’re there in 20 minutes, no problem! But did you know? In
the first century, the average person never traveled more than 30 miles outside
the radius of their birthplace. Didn’t have cars or trains or buses—people walked
where they went.
But Joppa is JUST BEYOND that boundary. It’s not 30 miles—it’s 32 miles
from Caesarea. Which I think is God making a point: If you want to see God do
a new thing in your life… you got to be willing to STEP OUT of your Comfort
Zone… and step beyond the 30-mile radius of your experience!
So many Christians pray for a New Vision—God give me new dreams… a new
job… a new relationship… I want fresh revelation. But we’re unwilling to step
beyond the status quo. The same old routine.
While it’s important to kneel in prayer, at some point, it’s equally important to
stand back up… And take a step of faith that moves beyond the limits of your
experience. Let me give you a good definition of Faith, if you’re taking notes: PT
2: FAITH is taking the FIRST step BEFORE God reveals the SECOND!
I want God to reveal the big plan for my life… I want to know what’s going to
happen, how it’s all going to work out. But Faith trusts God in the MESSY
2 years ago we planted the church
1 year ago… we hired our first Full Time Staff Member. Would we survive?
6 months ago… We launched a Youth Ministry
1 month ago… we launched Hope City Sisterhood
We sensed the Holy Spirit confirming that Vision… we took a Step of Faith! We
took that first step… before God revealed the second.
That’s how it works. God doesn’t hand-deliver a 25-year straight plan with
everything spelled out. We may wish He did. In fact, we wish the Lord’s Prayer
was: “Give us this day our yearly bread.” Because I would prefer a year’s
provision… I would prefer a year’s revelation. But that would keep us from
having to live our lives in this place of absolute dependence upon God! And
that’s what He wants—that’s part of His Will for your life. To live in daily
dependence on Him—seeking His face… reading His Word… Taking the FIRST
step… before He reveals the SECOND.
Church I am on my knees in prayer. I’m asking God to fill our church with
wisdom and discernment. I’m praying for Him to show up in powerful ways in
your life. I’m asking God to heal you physically, heal your hurts, heal your
habits… I sent out an email to our staff team the other day asking them to pray
for me, and for these things. We’re praying for a permanent home for Hope City.
A place where ministry can thrive and flourish.
WE ARE DEPENDENT ON GOD TO MOVE IN THIS PLACE!
Think about what happens if Cornelius had just stayed in Caesarea… NOTHING!
But he sends his men to Joppa—32 miles south. Outside of his comfort zone.
Where they meet a man named Peter. Now here’s where we are in the story.
So far: We’ve seen one person praying regularly.
But what happens when 2 people pray? Watch this:
9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city,
Peter went up on the roof to pray.
Prayer isn’t just about reciting a laundry list of request: God help me get the
promotion at work… God heal this person… God fix my marriage. So many of
us treat Prayer like we’re ordering from a Menu: We want an extra helping of
Blessings… Hold the Pain & Suffering, please. Yes, Prayer can change
circumstances. Powerful Prayer is when we let God change our perspective!
That’s what happens when Peter prayed up on that roof!
10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being
prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet
being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed
animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and
eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied.
God’s about to enlarge Peter’s perspective. God’s about to take a jackhammer
to Peter’s restrictive thinking—specifically, his cultural biases against Gentiles.
See Peter is a Jew… and he’s lived his entire life observing strict Jewish Dietary
Laws—which said they shouldn’t eat certain foods. Like the meat of animals.
But then while Peter is praying—He sees this sheet come down from Heaven
with all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. (And God
said: “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”)
That’s why he says:
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or
He’s like: No way, God! I’m not gonna eat what the Gentiles eat– what the
Romans eat—they’re impure & unclean pagans! (He has a strong reaction. It’s
like saying to a Vegan: “Wanna go to Five Guys?” Whaaaaaa? Do you see
what’s happening? Peter is praying… and God enlarges his perspective!
3) Prayer enlarges our PERSPECTIVE!
We may have a limited view… but Prayer gives us a God’s-Eye view! It’s how
God moves us from stale thinking to fresh REVELATION!
Peter’s vision was God’s way of telling him: “Don’t you look down on the Gentiles
like they don’t matter to me. They’re not inferior. I created them in my
image—and I value their souls as much as yours! I love them like I love you! I
sent Jesus to save them… just like I sent Jesus to save you!”
God is about to CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAME! And bust through that
racial barrier through the prayers of 2 men—Cornelius & Peter! A Roman
Centurion… and a Jewish Fisherman… who should have never met… never
been friends… never come together.
But watch… a Miracle Happens in the Middle!
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by
Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate.
And this is fun. Bc you can start to see this “Divine Appointment” materialize…
bc Roman soldiers & Jewish apostles did not hang out. They weren’t friends on
Facebook… they didn’t follow each other on Instagram. Society said they were
enemies. They were 2 people who should never ever have met!
But when you follow Jesus—the LORD is ordering your footsteps! And He’s
prepared good works in advance for you to do. If we pray, God is faithful to
enlarge our perspective! And get us where He wants to take us. But you have to
let Him lead!
18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon,
three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go
with them, for I have sent them.”
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went
along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and
had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house…
Understand: When Peter walks through this door… He’s about to break a whole
list of Jewish rules! He’s crossing a Major Threshold here… This is like stepping
through the wardrobe in Narnia… And Christianity will never be the same once
Peter walks through this door! So he pushes past his feelings… steps through
the door and…
28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate
with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure
In other words, I’ve been praying—And I had a fresh revelation! God has
changed my perspective on this! I realize I’ve been a religious racist! An ethnic
elitist! And that’s wrong! So I’m stepping beyond my background…
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show
favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is
right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good
news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of ALL. 43 All the prophets testify
that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on ALL who heard
Suddenly, the BARRIER is BROKEN! Christianity is open to ALL! This is the
TIPPING POINT in the Kingdom Expansion! Up to this point, Xianity was a sect
of Judaism! But 2 men started praying… God gave fresh revelation… directed
their steps so their paths would cross… and they each stepped outside their
comfort zone and history is changed!
Don’t be surprised when …4) WHEN TWO PEOPLE PRAY, A MIRACLE
HAPPENS IN THE MIDDLE!
At Hope City, we believe the Spirit is still speaking today. And Jesus is still
working Miracles today! That means anything is possible! What’s impossible
with man is absolutely possible with God!
When will you connect with God this week?
Q: So what are YOU praying for regularly?
For God to heal a broken relationship…
A broken body…
Provide a home where you can put down roots?
Q: What seems beyond your ability?
Realize this, God can do more in one moment… than you could accomplish in a
lifetime! And it all starts with Prayer.
Q: Can I ask: What obstacles are you facing?
What miracles are a prayer away? Where do you need God to enlarge your
I want to invite you to come forward so we can PRAY WITH YOU! I know every
single person at every campus has a different story— there are families facing
decisions… couples facing challenges… single folks struggling with situations.
Maybe you’re like Cornelius—new to the whole Jesus thing… come on down &
let us pray with you!
Because Prayer doesn’t just change the minds of men… it moves the heart of God.