Read: Acts 12:1-19
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12:5
Sometimes it takes a few readings of the daily passage for something to really jump off the page and yell “this is it, get this!” Today’s passage just took one reading. The moment I read our focus verse I knew what the scripture was saying to me – conviction, inspiration – it was all there.
In the last 2 messages in the Acts sermon series Chris talked about the persecution of Christians around the world and in particular, the Middle East. Two nights ago we gathered at the church as a family of Believers and prayed on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are facing torture, imprisonment, slavery and death because they belong to Christ and will not renounce their faith in Him.
I admit, sometimes praying for my brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and martyred for their faith can seem pointless. Like it’s not doing any good. But God does not give me the option to believe that, does He?
This passage tells of a riveting escape and victory. But the victory did not come by human hands. “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” It was by the power of God, through the prayer of the Church that Peter walked out of that prison. The people gathered in that room who were praying for Peter didn’t underestimate the power of their prayers (ok, well maybe they did – they were awfully surprised to hear him knocking at their door!).
So no, I don’t have the option to believe that my prayers for the Christian women and children being sold into slavery in the Middle East are ineffective – that my prayers don’t have an impact on my Christian brothers who are facing death by beheading. It’s very clear in this passage that when the Church prays for our persecuted brothers and sisters, miracles do happen.
“…but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” Will you join me in earnestly praying for our brothers in sisters in the Middle East, in China, in North Korea, in Africa? Our prayers are not in vain and there are little girls and young women facing a life in the sex trade, and there are young men facing beheading, and families being ripped apart, children being murdered – and they need us. They need our prayers.
Heavenly Father, please bring comfort to Your people around the world who are facing imprisonment, torture, slavery and death. I pray that by the power of Your Holy Spirit You would soften the hearts of those who persecute them and that they would come to know You. I pray that the plans of the enemy would be thwarted at every turn. Please fill my brothers and sisters with encouragement, strength, hope and Your love, beyond anything they’ve ever experienced. I pray that they would be set free in miraculous ways that leave no doubt that You alone are God. In everything Lord, I pray that Your glory would be made known. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, amen.