And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. (Acts 12:4-5 ESV)
I’ve been doing ministry in the church for well over 30 years. The church is a living organism that operates in two realms: The earthly and the heavenly. On the one hand, we find ourselves doing things that seem less than spiritual. On the other hand, we are spiritual beings who walk, talk, and function in a divine realm.
The healthy church is involved in many different activities. We love, assist, encourage, reach out, preach and teach. And we pray. It’s almost an afterthought. We pray…
Sometimes, when I see requests for prayer that are posted on social media pages, I feel a sense of frustration with the multiple responses of… praying, prayers, praying here… I’m not being critical. I believe most people who write those posts are sincere and probably do pray for the individual in need. Many times, I actually post a prayer on the timeline. Why not? Our prayers are powerful and they can bring encouragement.
The Acts 12 passage records a time of great need for Peter. James had just been killed, and Peter was in prison awaiting his promised execution. The situation was bleak. Four squads of soldiers had been appointed to guard him and prevent his escape. The odds were against him. In the natural realm, there was absolutely no chance for survival.
BUT, earnest prayer FOR HIM was made…TO GOD…BY THE CHURCH.
NO hope…and yet they prayed.
IMPOSSIBLE…but they asked anyway.
The atmosphere at the prayer meeting was hopeful which caused the jail to be peaceful.
How different would our lives be if we spent as much time praying as we do talking about our challenges? How many others would experience victory if the church got serious about prayer? What if the church spent as much time on our knees in prayer as we spend on our feet singing, or in our seats listening to sermons?
Church. Let’s pray. Let’s create a culture of heartfelt prayer. I think it would change things. Don’t you?
PRAYER: Lord, show us Your glory as we seek Your face in prayer. Help us to see the value of consistent conversation with You. Help us change the culture of the church so that prayer will be welcomed, encouraged, and effective. Amen.