Are you Praying? (Acts 12)

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Acts 12:5

Brothers and sisters we are living in the most critical days at least in my lifetime. In America we are only 8 weeks from a presidential election and our president is faced with the decision about another Supreme Court nominee. It could be that God is about to open a greater door of opportunity for the church than ever before.

Do these days demand our prayer? I would say, yes. I would also say, it is not only for our nation that we need to pray, it is for every nation of this world that needs our prayer.

In Acts 12 we are reminded of the power of prayer. As Dr. Luke continues to write about the beginning days of the church, we find ourselves back in the days when the early church had finally carried the gospel to the Gentiles. It was in this time when the believers were first called, “Christians,” (11:26).

Chapter 12 begins with a reminder of the constant persecution of the church. The Bible tells us of the wickedness of King Herod. The Bible uses the word “violent” to describe his actions. This word reminds us of the hatred, abuse, and murder of millions of Christians through the years of our history.

Herod killed James the Apostle because he knew it would increase his popularity in sight of the Jewish people. He then takes Peter into custody intending in a few days to do the same to him.

However, the Bible says, “earnest prayer was made for him by the church.”

I love what happened next: As the church interceded God intervened.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

Brothers and sisters, would God have intervened if the church had not interceded?

I really cannot answer the above question because this is the business of God. My business and your business is to pray. What should we be praying? Here is what Jesus said:

 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Luke 11:9-10

Jim Maxium writes so insightfully in his book, 21 Days of Prayer: “God tells us over and over again that His desire is to listen and answer our prayers,” (Jer. 29:12).

  • Prayer works, James 5:16.
  • Prayer takes work, Matt. 6:5-8.

I know we believe the first bullet point and I know we sometimes fail to pray because of the reality of the second bullet point. Brothers and sisters, if we want God to intervene in the critical hours we must must intercede boldly before God’s throne!

“God has not changed; and His ear is just as quick to hear the voice of real prayer, and His hand is just as long and strong to save as it ever was.” R. A. Torry

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