Scripture Focus: Acts 12.5, 11-12
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
12 When 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.
Reflection: Invitation to Participate
By Jane Schaible
Countless books are written on it. Countless days are wasted without it.
Herod had political ambition. Eliminating the Jesus-followers, like Peter and James, furthered his goals for power (Acts 12.3). Peter’s experience echoed his Savior’s, and like Jesus, he was seized, imprisoned, handed over, bound, guarded, and prepped for trial.
But the church was praying.
Peter thought the light that woke him was a dream until he was left alone in the dark street, chains gone.
He. Was. Free.
The church’s prayer wasn’t just about rescuing Peter. It was for the bigger picture of continuing the teaching of the Savior, the true King, and spreading the word of his salvation. The eternal will of God became the prayer of the church, and God acted.
Later, after executing his judgment upon the soldiers who had failed to guard Peter, Herod experienced his own judgment from God (Acts 12.23). The church then and now gives all glory to the true King, Jesus, because his word continued to spread and flourish (Acts 12.24).
The church had gathered, and the church was praying. Are we?
Countless books are written on the subject.
Yet there are countless days wasted without it. Countless moments of human wills trying to prevail. Countless moments where there weren’t two or three gathered (Matthew 18.20). Countless moments where we just did not participate.
Prayer is an invitation to join in the bigger picture—the eternal mission of God. The Spirit calls us to pray that his followers will endure and overcome and that his word of salvation will spread and flourish. How are we, O church, responding to that call? When we gather, do we gather with an atmosphere of prayer? Do we pray, asking and anticipating God’s word to flourish around us, in the midst of us, beyond us?
Oh, Father, we are so often prayerless. We dream big dreams of glory, cry loud cries against evils, and yet too often neglect to pray and ask for your power. Oh Spirit, empower us for your mission and help us to pray. Remind us of who our true King is, and gather us and lead us to pray in our homes, around our tables, at our churches, with our brothers and sisters.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Cry of the Church
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Isaiah 54 (Listen – 3:14)
Acts 12 (Listen – 3:49)
Read more about Resisting Herods
The Herods epitomize the kind of people that the Jesus community is so often drawn to in hopes of gaining their approval. #EugenePeterson