Acts 12: 1 - 23
The Powerful Effects of Earnest Prayer

The Powerful Effects of Earnest Prayer

The Book of Acts is the historical record of the remarkable growth of the Church in the Roman world - from Jerusalem the capital city of Judaism to Rome the capital city of the Roman Empire.

The last thing Jesus said before he returned to glory was that we should go into all the world and make disciples - Matthew 28

God doesn't expect us to do it on our own,  His love for us invites us the privilege of working alongside Him.  He has given us the gift of the Spirit to guide and empower us.  He has given us the gift of prayer.

In this passage, the Church in Jerusalem is growing rapidly.  Satan seeks to silence the witness of the early Church by physical intimidation. Satan prompts King Herod to take decisive action against the Church.  Herod decides to arrest James, the brother of John, one of the sons of Zebedee, and have him beheaded.  Get rid of one of the minor leaders first.

Who's next?

We are told that the imprisonment of Peter took place during Passover - a seven-day national holiday, set aside to celebrate the way in which God miraculously delivered the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt. So, when he sized Peter, Herod put him in prison and ordered four squads of four soldiers each to keep guard over him. 

Once he realized he was free he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. A crowd of believers had gathered there. They were praying earnestly. They were pouring out their hearts to God to deliver Peter from death. 

Even though they had been praying earnestly for his release they didn't really believe it would happen. 
"You're out of your mind," they chided. 

But make no mistake about it!  Prayer is one of the most important resources in our arsenal of spiritual weapons. St. James reminds us: "You have not because you do not ask." James 4:2