SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
“SO PETER WAS KEPT IN PRISON BUT THE CHURCH WAS EARNESTLY PRAYING TO GOD FOR HIM” Acts 12:5 (NIV).
Prayer is the single most powerful weapon that Jesus gave the church. According to Jesus’ own words, prayer is the strength of the church.
“I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, WHATEVER YOU BIND ON EARTH WILL BE BOUND IN HEAVEN, AND WHATEVER YOU LOOSE ON EARTH WILL BE LOOSED IN HEAVEN. AGAIN, I TELL YOU THAT IF TWO OF YOU ON EARTH AGREE ABOUT ANYTHING YOU ASK FOR, IT WILL BE DONE FOR YOU BY MY FATHER IN HEAVEN” (Matthew 18:18-19).
This is an indication that when believers agree and pray together about anything, we are likely to receive whatever we ask for. This makes prayer a very important tool in the lives of believers. Unfortunately, many Christians have failed to utilize the weapon of prayer to its maximum. But the early church made good use of prayer as we find in Acts 12 and other parts of the New Testament. In this edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we want to look at what prayer was used to accomplish in the church when Peter was arrested by the political leaders of their day.
The political leaders of Palestine, as part of their strategy to gain Jewish support, tried to do anything for the Jewish leaders. When King Herod realized that the Jewish leaders were persecuting the Christians, he lent his support and killed many of the Christians. Notable among them was James, the brother of John. After that he got Peter arrested, intending to get him killed on the Day of Passover in the manner Jesus was tried and crucified. All this was done to ensure that he continued enjoying support from the Jews. But this time around the church was praying and things changed.
As Christians, we should always be aware of spiritual warfare and be ready to defend ourselves or even attack the devil’s stronghold before they attack us. Many of us have become victims of the devil’s schemes because we refused to pray when we were supposed to do so. When James was arrested, the church probably underrated what the devil was doing and the devil had his way. It could also be that God allowed that to happen to sensitize the believers. So when the church heard about Peter’s arrest and its timing, they realized nothing could be done about it except prayer. They therefore gathered together to pray. They understood that believers’ prayer has the power to accomplish a lot of things such as releasing people from Satan’s prison. This could be either a spiritual or physical prison. They understood that no matter the circumstances, God is able to do whatever his people ask from him. So they prayed. They prayed in order to put an end to the devil’s plan of destroying God’s church. IF WE SHALL RISE UP IN PRAYER, WE CAN RENDER THE DEVIL POWERLESS IN 2014.
As the believers prayed, God was moved to act on behalf of his people. God sent an angel to visit Peter in prison. He was guarded by two soldiers; bound with two chains with keepers still at the door. They did everything possible to prevent Peter from escaping because they had previously experienced Peter and John escaping from prison. Yet God responded to the prayer of the believers and sent an angel to release Peter from prison.
This story tells us that the prayer of the church can accomplish a lot. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT THE DEVIL HAS BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH IN OUR LIVES IN PREVIOUS YEARS OR INTENDS TO ACCOMPLISH IN OUR LIVES IN 2014; WE CAN BRING A CLOSURE TO THEM IF AND ONLY IF BELIEVERS WILL BECOME AWARE OF HIS SCHEMES AND BEGIN TO PRAY EARNESTLY.
I do not know how long the devil has been able to succeed in destroying things in your life. I do not know the extent to which your church, family, health, marriage plans, educational career, job, finances and relationship with God have been affected negatively by Satan’s attacks. I only know that prayer can stop the devil from rejoicing because of you. Your prayer can destroy the party of all your enemies.
NO MATTER WHAT THE DEVIL MANAGED TO DESTROY IN YOUR LIFE IN THE YEAR 2013 AND BEFORE, WE CAN STOP HIM FROM CONTINUING IN THE YEAR 2014 AND BEYOND. WE ONLY NEED TO PRAY.
LET US THEREFORE REFUSE TO BE SILENT AND CRY OUT TO THE LORD CONTINUOUSLY THIS YEAR AND WHATEVER THE DEVIL IS DOING CAN BE HALTED IN JESUS’ NAME!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.