In this 12th blog about prayer, I borrow insights for the last time from Ronald Dunn’s book, Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something: The Incredible Power of Intercessory Prayer.
Can the church do more than just survive? In 300 years after Christ’ public ministry, “the church brought the Roman Empire to its knees in worship of the Redeemer.”
After the angel rescued from Peter from prison and Herod, he considered what happened and went to the house of Mary where prayer was offered up for him (Acts 12:11-12). In the same way, we must consider four facts:
Fact 1: The church and the world are deadly enemies
John says to not love the world or what it’s in the world—lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). The world refers to a system organized without God expressing evil forces hostile to God.
The enemies of Christ always unite. When Herod killed James and saw it pleased the Jews, he tried to kill Peter to be popular with the Jews. The apostles experienced three attacks from the Sadducees (Acts 4); Pharisees (Acts 6), and Herod (Acts 12).
Fact 2: The success of evil is only apparent
It’s tough when we see the wicked prosper (Psalm 73). Listen to God when He speaks to our anxious hearts (Psalm 37:1-10).
Notice these commands from Psalm 37:1-10: Do not fret; be not envious, trust in the Lord; do good; dwell in the land; cultivate faithfulness; delight yourself in the Lord; commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him; rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him; do not fret; cease from anger; forsake wrath.
I notice that “do not fret” and “trust in the Lord” are repeated twice. It must mean that they are especially important.
Fact 3: God’s hand, though unseen, is working
It’s impossible to evaluate a situation based on visible evidence. The angel appeared in the prison where Peter was being held. The guards didn’t see the angel or the light that illuminated the cell. The guards didn’t hear the sound when the chains fell on the stone floor. The guards didn’t hear Peter when he left the prison. Peter was delivered before he even realized it.
Fact 4: The unseen hand of God is moved by prayer
The church offered constant prayer for Peter (Acts 12:5). A vital connection occurred between Peter’s deliverance and the church’s prayers. Prayer does move the hand of God; it’s the true power of the church.
Another example is Acts 4 when Peter and John were put in prison for preaching the gospel. Rather than dialogue or organizing a protest against religious discrimination, the church prayed. As a result, the place was shaken—God’s active presence as He worked, moved, and answered.
With “one accord,” they prayed and as a by-product, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:24,31).
Content of Pray Resulting in Filling of the Holy Spirit
- Recognized God as sovereign since He’s creator and in charge of all
- Recognized themselves as God’s servants submitting to His redemptive purpose to speak God’s word with boldness (Acts 4:29).
- Became empowered witness to speak boldly with courage, clarity, and confidence (Acts 4:31).
- Became enriched with harmony, generosity, and compassion (Acts 4:21-37)