What is the first thing we do when we are faced with a severe trial, a crisis that comes into our lives unexpectedly? The answer to this question will be different depending on who is reading it and where you live in the world. At the same time, as followers of Jesus, it is good for any of us to look at models in Scripture that both encourage and challenge us to do the same.
URGENT PRAYER - “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church” (Acts 12:5). As we see today in many governments around the world, there was hostility against what God was doing through the Apostles and disciples. The church immediately gathered for the purpose of praying for Peter. The words “earnest prayer” simply means that they spoke directly to God as intercession on behalf of Peter. This type of prayer is in contrast to recited prayers which just repeat what someone else has written. “Earnest prayer” begins in the heart, energized by the Holy Spirit with the truth of God’s promises behind it.
Peter is sleeping between two soldiers, unconcerned about his situation. He knows that his life is in the Lord’s hands and that provides comfort, confidence and peace. But the church must respond to the situation.
For us who watch others go through difficulties, we may pray with doubt whether God will answer. Those gathered at Mary’s house doubted that God would answer so quickly. This kind of praying requires two attitudes of the heart; 1) speaking to God with earnestness, that He resolve the problem by His wisdom and power, and 2) not putting a time limit or restriction on how quickly and in what way He answers.
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