- Acts 12:1-24
- Luke 18:1-8
- James 1:2-8
Pray… that you would have sure confidence in the power of prayer as you pray.
Day 330 – Peter – Jerusalem Persecution
Do not give up on prayer nor doubt that God answers prayer
- As the church continued to grow, so did the persecution against it. James (not the brother of Jesus, but the disciple) died in Acts 12:2 at the hands of Herod, and Peter was arrested. What did his church family do whilst Peter was locked up?
- What happened to Peter as he was sleeping in the cell?
- The story of his escape was fun, I thought. What was the reaction when Peter returned to the house of Mary? What was the reaction of Herod when he heard the news?
- The guards who were on duty when Peter escaped were put to death, as was the custom for soldiers who lost prisoners. I feel rather sorry for them! How does that highlight that Peter escaped through God’s miraculous intervention (rather than because the guards fell asleep, or were bribed, or something)?
- So, did the prayer work? What is the message about prayer given in today’s passage in Luke? It might sound like a familiar story.
- The parable that Jesus shared in Luke 18 talks of a persistent widow whose continual requests to a bad judge encouraged him to give her the justice she desired against her adversary. This might seem rather odd to you. After all, when were you last told to keep on asking someone for something even when you weren’t getting any positive response? Jesus used this parable, however, to consider God’s response to prayer. His point is that if even a bad judge will respond to persistent, good requests, how much more would a perfect God desire to respond to the persistent prayers of His children? So… are you “persistent” in prayer? I know I could be a lot more dedicated in bringing prayer requests to God. When you’re not persistent, why do you think this is? Do you doubt God’s ability to work, or the power of prayer to do anything? Or is it just a habit thing?
- James (Jesus’ brother, who’s still alive!) picked up this theme in his letter, which we read as our third reading today. How does verse 6 say that we should pray? What do verses 7-8 guard us against?
There were gifts that were given to the early church to help demonstrate God’s power and to quicken the spread of the gospel, gifts such as healing and speaking in tongues. As you may know, debate continues about whether these gifts exist beyond those of the apostles.
One thing is sure though – prayer worked then and it works now. Be confident and regular in your prayer time, and bring your prayers to God trusting that He will act.