Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church... 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
The early church prayed together.
In one accord, with one mind they made their requests known to God - the one who not only heard, but was able to do what they could not. And when they prayed together, He heard.
And sometimes, He did the impossible.
In Acts 12, persecution had begun in an attempt to stop the growth of Christianity. James, the brother of John had just been martyred. Peter had been arrested.
And the church began to pray.
As they prayed, God worked.
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
They prayed and Peter was set free as only God could do it.
If you are like me, most of the time, you don't really pray BIG prayers believing that God will do them. It's OK, we're not alone. The next part of this chapter always makes me laugh, mostly because I can relate to it!
13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.
Can you see Peter at the gate, afraid, having just broken out of prison, looking for safety... Rhoda comes, sees him there as everyone has been praying - then she leaves him there at the gate to go tell everyone!
As if that isn't enough, when she tells everyone who has gathered to pray for peter that he there - NO ONE believes her! They even say she is crazy! Meanwhile, Peter is at the gate continuing to knock!
I get it! I'm not sure which is more like me - Rhoda who left Peter at the gate or everyone else who was praying for Peter's safety and didn't believe God had saved him.
When they prayed together, the impossible happened.
What if we prayed together? What if we prayed together for our family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who don't know Jesus or walk with Him? What if we prayed together that God would reach them with the Good News of Jesus? What if we prayed together for the impossible?
Starting this Sunday we will have a Prayer Box and Prayer Cards available on the table in the lobby. We want to join you in praying that God would reach the people around you with the gospel! The cards will not be made public but will be shared with elders and staff who will join you in regularly praying with you for for the people on your list.
What list? This one.
So Sunday, stop by the table, take a card, write as many names on it as you like, drop it in the box, and know that we will be praying with you!
When they prayed, the impossible happened!