1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.
2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.
3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
Prayer is the most fundamental and yet indispensable discipline in the Christian life.
As breathing to the physical life, so is praying to the spiritual life.
Without prayer, we wither and die spiritually.
A prayerless life is a powerless life.
More praying, more power; less praying, less power; no praying, no power.
The problem is, we know it in our head, but we don’t believe it in our heart.
Do we really believe in the mighty power of prayer? If we do, we’d pray more.
Time to arise and be a praying Christian! Time to arise and be a praying Church!
The story of Acts 12 opened with the early church facing persecution from King Herod.
The year was 44 A.D., i.e. about 12 – 14 years after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. The church was still in its infancy.
This king is Herod Agrippa I. Hatred and hostility towards Christianity ran deep in Herod’s family.
His grandfather was Herod the Great, who massacred the babies during the time of Jesus’ birth. His uncle was Herod Antipas, who beheaded John the Baptist and put Jesus on trial. His son was Herod Agrippa II, who tried the apostle Paul.
King Herod arrested some in the church and beheaded James the apostle. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter too, intending to execute him after the Feast.
In his eyes the church was easY prey. The Christians were poor, ordinary folks. They had no political connection nor financial power to fight the persecution.
Furthermore, he had Peter under heavy guard – chained to two soldiers, watched by another two, rotated with a squad of 16, there was no way he could have escaped or rescued.
Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, BUT the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The situation looked desperate and hopeless, yet we thank God for the BUT!
How Should We Pray?
I. Pray Earnestly as a Family
They were praying for Peter as if for one of their own family member. In truth, we are one family in the Lord.
II. Pray Earnestly in Faith
James had just been beheaded, Peter had been imprisoned. We may not understand why, but the answer is found in holding on to faith!
III. Pray Earnestly with Focus
They were praying specifically for Peter. Focused, pointed and purposeful prayer are powerful prayer.
IV. Pray Earnestly and Fervently
They prayed with passion and fervency for many days, taking the risk of being discovered and arrested as well.
Praying earnestly means seriously, intensely, persistently, passionately, desperately.
Desperate times call for desperate prayer!
Is there fire in our prayer?
Amazing and astonishing miracle awaits the praying church!
Peter was imprisoned by a king, but the King of kings dispatched angel to escort him out of prison.
Herod exalted himself as god, but God humbled him as worms.
The church was praying for Peter, yet they were caught by surprise with his release.
Mark 9:24 "I do believe; help my unbelief."
Our faith may not be very strong, doubts may linger, nevertheless PRAY, and you will still see the mighty miracle of God!