Prayer Text for Today is Acts 12:1-19
When it comes to prayer I more often feel like an amateur making rookie mistakes than an accomplished prayer all-star! Like many people I feel sometimes that my prayers are ineffectual and I’m left wondering why God seems unmoved by even my most ardent requests.
Maybe I ask too small. Maybe I ask without really believing that God will bring that blessing into being. Perhaps God is answering while I impatiently and immaturely cultivate unspiritual expectations. It could be that I’m too focused on evidences and not focused on the Father who gives good gifts to His children. And very likely I’ve forgotten more answered prayers than I am willing to admit. Such are my own prayer confessions. So I might not be the best person to write about power in prayer. Praying for power and praying in power are to be sought by all Christians.
The persecuted infant church experienced some of the persecutions that would cause many of us to question the power of our prayers. James, the brother of John was executed by Herod. Apostle Peter was in prison, maybe he was to be next. God’s people were doing what prayer-oriented people do:
So Peter was kept in prison, but prayer was being made earnestly to God for him by the church. ~Acts 12:5
The earnest prayers of the church were offered up for Peter. Just as they are today for Christians being persecuted and imprisoned today. The church is to be in prayer for all of those imprisoned by addiction, pain, financial disaster, disease and sin. We pray all of those kinds of prayers today and they are all answered. Every one of them. That is prayer power. We’re looking at all the wrong things when we consider the weakness of our own prayers. We do so (I just did in the first paragraph!), but we are being distracted away from seeing Christ when we do.
The main lesson about prayer is just this: Do it! Do it! Do it! You want to be taught to pray. My answer is pray and never faint, and then you shall never fail… ~John Laidlaw
When the church gathers to pray, Heaven hears and acts … and we conform to the answers that come from God.
Peter, however, kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astounded. ~Acts 12:16
I’m really glad they were astounded. Kind of like when one of my prayers are answered… I’m shocked! The Enemy goes into action to suggest that it wasn’t really an answer, that was going to happen anyway. How many Christians have more faith in coincidence than Christ?
A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men.” ~Leonard Ravenhill
We find power in prayer by being consistent in prayer. This is where we fail. It’s not so much that God has fallen down on His job but that we find ourselves amazed that He actually hears and answers? Pray for greater power in prayer! This is not like Obi-Wan Kenobi utilizing The Force to get others to do his will! (Star Wars geeks can thank me later!) No, the power is all in God’s hands…and when we place ourselves, our hopes, our desires, our will, and our lives in His hands we begin to be fashioned into the shape of His will. In His goodness and wisdom we find more of the life we always wanted than we were able to find on our own efforts. That is real power.
If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ. ~C. H. Spurgeon
So our prayer today is to be a people of prayer, serve in a church of prayer, and watch for the answers to prayer. And it’s OK to be astounded at the answers … we serve a God who is more amazing than we could have ever imagined! When you start to doubt prayer…yourself…God … remember that you’re suffering a power outage because you are connecting to the wrong source. Find your real prayer power by connecting to God and being content to pour out your heart to Him, knowing He knows what to do next. (Haven’t you heard Garth Brooks singing that some of God’s greatest gifts are Unanswered Prayers!)
Have you ever heard Larnelle Harris singing a song based on this text called Rhoda, Open the Door? Hear it below.
What doors do we need to open today?