March 1st

Earnest Prayer Brings Results

“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. 5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 6The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists. 8Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him. 9Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. 11Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating." 12When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying” Acts 12:4-12 NIV 

This remarkable story from Acts shows how earnest prayer brought results.  God responded to the people’s earnest prayers by delivering Peter from Herod’s prison. He used an angel to lead Peter out from the heavily guarded prison.  Much to the prayer group’s surprise, Peter showed up at their door.  

When we join together with other believers to pray fervently and persistently about a situation, we can expect results!  There is something miraculous that happens when believers gather together to petition the Lord.  Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20 NKJV).  

It’s important for us to fully grasp what fervent and persistent prayer is.  Fervent means “Marked by great intensity of feeling; zealous” and persist means “to go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition” (Webster’s).  This kind of prayer is not half-hearted, nor does it give up after five minutes.  No, this kind of prayer could go all night, or even for many days.  This kind of prayer does not give up when the situation doesn’t seem to change, or even gets worse during the course of the prayers.  Consider the aspects of how the people prayed for Peter’s release:

Even though our faith may not be 100 % strong, we can pray in confidence, knowing that God will do something.  We need not be surprised when God responds to our prayers, rather, we can be expectant that God is going to answer us. 

We can apply this story to situations in our own lives that warrant prayer.  Are you facing something that seems impossible in the natural?  If you are, I encourage you to share your challenge with a fellow believer (s) and go to the Lord in earnest prayer.  Pray expectantly, as the answer could soon be knocking at your door! 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, thank you for this awesome story of answered prayer in Acts. Thank you that you hear our prayers and answer them.  Please help me to discover fervent and persistent prayer in a new way this week.  Father, help me to learn how to pray continuously to you, no matter what I’m doing throughout the day. Please forgive me for not praying more, especially when there are so many issues in my life that warrant it.  Help me to see prayer as a special and important time with you, and not as a boring chore.  Thank you, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”