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Earnest Prayer

Daily Reading: Acts 12


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


Devotional Thought: Believers were being persecuted, even unto death. The church was losing members to religious persecution. Christians faced constant scorn and physical threats. The Roman government seemed to feed on the fury of the Jews. This is why Peter was arrested in the first place. Herod… “saw that it pleased the Jews, and proceeded to arrest Peter also” (v. 3). Peter was kept in prison under heavy guard, even being chained to two sentries.


What could his friends and fellow believers do? They most certainly felt helpless, but their faith doesn’t seem to waver in the face of this impossible situation. The church doesn’t gather to bemoan the unfairness of the situation, nor does it try to concoct a rescue plan. “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church,” (v. 5).


These early believers understood that with God all things are possible. It’s as if they were recalling the words of Jesus in Matthew 19.26: “…with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Do we have the same perspective on prayer? When speaking to a friend in crisis, have you ever said something like, “I wish I could help you, but I will be praying for you.” Comments like this reflect our heart’s skeptical attitude towards prayer, and a God with whom anything is possible.


Peter was rescued miraculously. Sometimes, God answers our prayers in a way that feels and looks miraculous, even to the world. But, more often he works his miracles in unseen ways, in the hearts of those who love him and those whom he is drawing to himself.


Jenny


Prayer: Lord, give us boldness when we pray! Help us to not view prayer as a poor second choice for those who are suffering, but rather as our first line of defense and our highest privilege as children of God. Amen.


Psalm of the Day: Psalm 69.6-12

6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord God of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. 7 For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face. 8 I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons.

9 For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me. 10 When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. 11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. 12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.

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