MEMORIZE: Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. Acts 12:5
BIBLE READING ACTS 12:1-12
1. Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4. And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
5. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
6. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
7. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
8. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
9. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
10. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
11. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
12. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
In todays Bible text, we read that King Herod killed James the brother of John. On sensing that his wicked act pleased the Jews who were opposed to the disciples of Jesus Christ, Herod went further to arrest Peter for the purpose of executing him as well but prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him (Acts 12:5 ).
The result of this intercessory act of the Church was heart-warming. The Lord heard the prayers of the Church and sent an angel to rescue Peter from the prison and also from being executed by Herod the king.
“And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. Acts 12:7.”
Beloved, we deprive ourselves the privilege of experiencing great testimonies whenever we do not go to God in prayers.
The lyrics of a popular hymn captions this error brilliantly as follows, O What peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, Every thing to God in prayer.
In our text of today, we see how beneficial it is to intercede for one another. It is unfortunate that instead of interceding, for example, for a brother or sister undergoing a siege of sin or trial of faith, some people prefer to gossip about them.
Many Christian brethren prefer to bury a wounded soldier instead of helping him to bounce back on his feet so that he could continue the fight of faith.
The Church interceded for Peter and he was rescued. The Church will always triumph if we can give ourselves to intercession and earnest prayer, one for another.
This is the reason even Apostle Paul requested that the Christians should pray for him and the leadership of the early Church (2 Thessalonians 3:1). Prior to this time, this same Paul, together with Silas, prayed and sang praises to God in prison, leading to their mighty deliverance (Acts 16:25-30 ).
The Body of Christ is in serious need of intercession. Will you commit to intercede for your brethren more?
KEY POINT: Organise an intercessory prayer programme in your household for at least two families that are under siege currently.
BIBLE READING IN ONE YEAR: DEUTERONOMY 32:1-52, DEUTERONOMY 33:1-29, DEUTERONOMY 34:1-12
HYMN: O LORD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST
1. O Lord, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:
2. Under the shadow of your throne,
your saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is your arm alone,
and our defense is sure.
3. Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting you are God,
to endless years the same.
4. A thousand ages in your sight
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends
the night before the rising sun.
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