Lessons of Prayer—Both Positive and Negative

Be encouraged to pray and trust the Lord who not only hears the cries of his people but answers our prayers in accordance with his perfect will.

Apparently, as persecution was heating up against God’s people—the church gathered for prayer. They didn’t turn to social media for prayer nor did they just pray with a few random friends. They gathered as a church specifically for prayer (Acts 12:5, 12). It would do us well to notice that the church had gathered to pray late in the evening or they prayed until it was very late. We derive this from the text as Peter was already asleep between two soldiers when the angel appeared to him (Acts 12:6). This is critically important to see and a pattern to follow. 

 

In Acts 12, we find a very important scene of a persecuted church and a praying church. It was the persecution that precipitated the prayer—and what happens in this record of church history is vitally important regarding the practice of prayer within our local church today.

It has been said of prayer by Charles Spurgeon, “Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer can do.” Prayer is of great importance in the Christian journey! We see prayer in both the Old and New Testaments – and prayer is a privilege we enjoy not a task we must do. One of the most neglected forms of worship is the faithful practice of prayer. This is not true of just the individual believer—but also of the church as a whole. Far too often, the prayers of the gathered church are shallow, short, and more horizontal than vertical in nature. We have much to learn about prayer.

At the beginning of Acts 12, we find that Herod was persecuting Christians. He had killed John, the brother of James, with a sword. He was violently persecuting the church—and during this outburst of violence upon God’s people—Peter was arrested and imprisoned. It was likely that Herod was planning to use Peter as an example by killing him as well. However, something very interesting happened.

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