“When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish leaders, he arrested Peter during the Passover celebration and imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod’s intention was to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.”
Peter finds himself in the midst of Passover, and he’s in prison. His life is at risk. He’s not going anywhere and he’s under the regime of 16 guards.
He’s got some time to reflect back on the last Passover that he’d experienced, possibly 12 months earlier. On that occasion, Peter was in an upper room with Jesus and the other 11 disciples. It was a time when Jesus broke the bread in a new way (this is my body, broken for you) and shared the cup after supper with renewed meaning and purpose (this is the cup of the new covenant, poured out for the sin of the world). He’s witnessed Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane (Father if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. BUT not my will, may yours be done. Luke 22:42) and being handed over to the guards by Judas, who’d betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Peter probably recounted with shame his own betrayal as he tried to be invisible around the fire in the High Priest’s courtyard as Jesus was being put on trial. And now, Peter himself is about to be put on trial…. “BUT….. while Peter was in Prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him” (Acts 12:5).
APPLY// Don’t you love a good BUT? BUT while Peter was in Prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. This verse jumped out at me because Newlife is a church that wants to be committed to the Value of Fervent Prayer. We have some people who are committed to prayer morning, noon and night. BUT we don’t have the whole church committed to fervent prayer, just yet. I’m part of the BUT. The BUT that has an excuse for almost everything!! This is a challenge for me as I know the power of God in my head, BUT I’m often preoccupied with distractions and other ‘busy-ness/business’ that reduce my attention to the deeper connection and relationship that I could have with God through prayer. Last week I was on a Presbytery Retreat where I experienced the benefit of a deeper, longer, consistent period of focused and concentrated time with God. It was good for my body, mind and soul. I’m experiencing a deeper desire for FERVENT PRAYER.
PRAYER// Thank you Jesus that your life demonstrated a life of prayer and deep connection with your heavenly Father. Abba, (Father) deepen my relationship with you. Spirit, let me hear your invitation to join the dance of your Spirit each day. We pray that we can be a Church that is deeply committed to Fervent Prayer, so that the prison doors will be opened and people will be set free, through your power. Thank you for an amazing night of prayer and worship last week at J35. You are an awesome God.