The Acts of Disciples
They Pray with Earnest – Part I
Scripture Reading: Acts 12:1-19
Key Verses: Acts 12:5
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
Is it possible that the reason we do not see miracles, like the one in our Scripture Reading for today, is because we do not pray with earnest?
In today’s Scripture Reading, King Herod arrested Peter and put him in jail under heavy guard. When the believers heard this news, they gathered and began to pray earnestly for Peter. These believers probably did not pray like this every day of their lives. These people prayed for Peter because they understood what it meant for their leader.
What is an “earnest” prayer and what does it look like? Webster gives us a definition of the word: “characterized by an intense and serious state of mine… grave or important”. A truly earnest prayer is when the stakes are high and we are feeling intense desperation.
We have all heard preachers say to not wait until we face troubles before we pray. But the reality is we do not pray earnest prayers when life is good and free of real problems. So, pray daily when life is good but know that there are times that we must pray earnestly.
A wonderful miracle happened on Peter’s first night in jail. Peter was sound asleep and that shows Peter’s trust in the Lord.
Would we be able to sleep soundly if we were in jail? This also shows us that God’s grace is with us when we need it most, as certainly Peter needed it that night.
But sometime in the night, an angel appeared and struck Peter on the side to wake him up. The angel told Peter to dress and follow him. Look at Peter’s first thoughts:
Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. (Acts 1:29)
Peter, led by the angel, walked through the jail gate and out to the street. The angel disappeared and Peter realized that God had delivered him. All this time, the church was earnestly praying for Peter and could hardly believe it when Peter showed up at their prayer meeting.
James 5:16 (NLT) confirms the power of an earnest prayer:
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Father, thank You for hearing my prayers. May my earnest prayers produce the results that only You can give! In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.