I have read and personally heard from individuals in S. E. Asia that when they see what is happening to the church in America, they say they are praying that persecution will come to wake us up. That is a hard reality to swallow. Yet, as we look at the church in Acts we see that persecution was God’s way of bringing about some needed change.
As we have noticed in previous chapters, persecution drove the church to prayer. But it was always a habit with the church (Acts 1:14; 2:42; 4:22-31) and these circumstances only intensified their commitment to prayer. They also prayed expecting God to answer.As you review the following “key principles”, ask yourself why prayer gatherings are so sparsely attended in most western churches?
Acts 12:1-5 – Herod lays “violent hands on some who belonged to the church”. James is killed and _______ is arrested and put in prison. "But earnest ________...was made to God by the church.”
Acts 12:6-19 – While Peter is asleep in prison, “an angel of the Lord” wakes him up and leads him out of the prison. While the believers are still praying, Peter arrives where they are praying, to their amazement.
Acts 12:20-24 – God deals directly with a prideful ruler who refuses to give God glory. In the face of all these difficult situations, “the ______ of God increased and multiplied”.
Do we really pray with earnestness, expecting God to answer our prayers in His way and time? Is our lack of expectancy an indicator of how deep and real our relationship and faith in God is? When we are actively committed to deep fellowship with the Lord, the word of God will increase and multiply!
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