Welcome Home – 40 Day Fast Devotion #38

A Prayer In Time…

Matt Destry – Communication Pastor

Scripture

Acts 12:5,12

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him… He went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying…

Insight

The Epistle of James declares that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective”. Prayer changes people, and prayer changes things. We don’t always see the results of our prayers straight away, but we do see the results of prayer, not least in the heart of the one praying, as well as in the situation being prayed for. Unfortunately, we do not learn about our attitude towards the effectiveness and power of prayer until it is put to the test by trial and fire!

After the church was established in Antioch (a Greek-speaking city where the term ‘Christian’ was first coined), persecution broke out again against the believers at the hands of King Herod. This is when heaven received the life of James, the brother of John; one of the ‘sons of thunder’. This serious and shocking act of violence against the disciples pleased the Jewish people living in Judea, and they bayed for the blood of Peter also. Peter was captured and placed in prison, being guarded by four squads of four soldiers each.

It is at this point that Luke, the writer of Acts, pauses to tell us in verse 5 that the church was then thrust into a flurry of prayer, on behalf of both Peter and the fate of the church at large. As the narrative continues, Peter is awoken in the middle of the night by an angel of the Lord, his chains are rendered useless as he stood in his cell, between his sleeping captors. Finding his way out of prison, he arrives at John’s mother’s house, where he found the gathered disciples labouring in earnest prayer for him! His miraculous release from prison was occurring as good people prayed for him in real-time!

“The Word of God is not chained”, declares the Apostle Paul. The prayers of the church on behalf of those who are suffering and afflicted run near to the Father’s heart – let us never doubt their power. As the church gathers to pray, lives are changed, hearts are transformed, and prison doors are opened as a sign that God’s Kingdom approaches.

Reflection Questions:

1/ Who in your life needs freedom right now? How can you pray for them?
2/ How can you pray for those that are suffering?
3/ How has this last 40 days of prayer and fasting changed your prayer life?