…but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
At a moment when the darkness of persecution seemed to be engulfing the church at Jerusalem, prayer made the difference.
According to Acts 12 the Apostle James had just been killed by Herod. Herod's sights were now set on Peter. Peter was arrested, jailed, and awaiting execution when his church began to pray. In Acts 12:5 we read that, "prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." Here are six simple lessons to remember when trouble comes your way:
1. Make prayer your go-to response. Vs 5
Under extreme circumstances the church bonded together in prayer. They didn't despair, they didn't leave town, they prayed together. Prayer should be our first move when we encounter problems of any size. It should be natural for believers to take their burdens to the Lord. How often is prayer our last resort instead of our go-to response?
2. Make prayer your constant activity.
We are told that the people in Jerusalem prayed without ceasing. They were not content to offer a half-hearted prayer and then continue on about their business. This was a serious situation and they prayed constantly. I'm afraid I spend allot of my time doing things that don't amount to much, when I really should be calling upon the One who can make a difference.
3. Make your prayers specific.
The prayer meeting recorded here is laser focused. The people had one thing on their hearts: Lord, help Peter! There was no need for taking prayer requests. The need was clear, and so were the prayers.
4. Pray and trust God's timing. Vs 6
Have you ever noticed that God has a different ideal time frame than you do? That's because one of the ways He helps us grow is by forcing us to trust Him and His timing. That can be tough. In Acts 12:6 God waited until the very moment the guards were coming for Peter to do something. At zero hour God sent his angel to set Peter free and lead him safely from the prison.
5. Pray and recognize God's hand. Vs 13-16
The Lord Jesus taught us to pray in faith believing, but like the faithful at Jerusalem, we are often caught off guard when the answer comes. In this almost comical part of the story a young lady name Rhoda is the first to discover what God did in response to their prayers.
Peter, being released minutes earlier, went to the place where he knew his friends would be praying. He knocked on the door and Rhoda recognized his voice. So she went to tell the others. (I know, she left him standing outside the door, but the girl was so excited!) The really crazy thing is that not one of the prayer warriors believed that God had freed Peter from the jail! In verse 15 we read that Rhoda "constantly affirmed that it was even so." Good for her! What a lesson. As we pray we need to watch for the Lord to answer.
6. Pray and give God the glory. Vs 17
There is one last lesson, and it is Peter who does the teaching now. Once he is finally brought inside the house he tells them how God delivered him. You will notice that he doesn't say one word about an angel, or anything about halo's. He gives honor where honor is due, to the Lord! Then he instructs those at the meeting to spread the word about what God has done! When God answers, give Him the glory.
Prayer makes the difference in life. So let's pray, trust God for the results, and watch for that opportunity to praise Him!
What is on your heart to pray for? What is the urgent need in your life? Take it to the Lord. Feel free to share how we can pray for you in the comment section below. Thanks for reading.
Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17