In order to unlock the Power of God the church must use the key of Prayer!
A church that does not pray forfeits the Blessings and Power of Almighty God. A powerless Church cannot please or Glorify God. Therefore, God is not pleased when his saints fail to COLLECTIVELY Pray. 1. The Un-prevailing Power of Satan
If we want to see the Church become what God designed it to be – we must become a Praying Church .
Satan loves to use the rulers of this world to try and take down the Church.
Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great, was, like his forerunners, a murderer. The Herods were Edomites, descendants of Esau. In one sense, we see Esau persecuting Jacob again, for “James” is simply another form of the name Jacob! This persecution is a picture of the time of tribulation the Jews will endure in the last days. In Matt. 20:20–23 Jesus told James and John that they would receive a baptism of suffering. James was the first of the apostles slain, and John, who lived a long life, endured great suffering (Rev. 1:9). Christ had promised the apostles that they would suffer persecution. So, will all who seek to obey God’s Word.
There is a practical lesson here: when Satan wanted to hinder the work of the church, he went after Peter and James. He goes after the best Christians and seeks to hinder their work. Are we the kind of Christians that Satan wants to attack? Are we making such a difference for the Kingdom of God that Satan wants to hinder our efforts? If not, what does that say about us?
2. The Prevailing Power of Prayer
If we want to have an impact on the world - we must become a Praying Church.
In our text, Peter is ARRESTED and INCARCERATED. Herod estimated that if he killed the Head of the Church -- The body would soon perish. And don’t you know that this same type MENTALITY still exists today? However, unknown to Herod our God had other plans.
• I like a God who can turn Dead Ends into Detours
• I like a God who can take what looks like the End of the Road and turn it into a Bend in the Road
• I like a God who can take a dire situation and make it desirable!
• I like a God who is Bigger than our Prisons – Jail Cells – and our Chains
I am glad this morning I know a Man Who CAN!
The word “Easter” in v. 4 is another word for “Passover.” This ceremony would last eight days, after which Herod promised to kill Peter to please the Jews. For safety’s sake, he assigned four relays of four guards each to watch Peter. Two were at his side and two at the cell door. “But prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” (v. 5).
How thrilling those words are to the believer! When Satan does his worst, Christians can turn to God in prayer and know that He will work it out for our Good. Notice verse 6, How could Peter be so peaceful when he knew that he had only a short time to live? The prayer of the church certainly helped him, but Christ’s promise in John 21:18–19 must have sustained him.
John 21:18-19: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”
Peter knew that he would not die until he was older, and that his death would not be by the sword (as with James, v. 2), but by crucifixion. Faith in the Word of God gave him peace. If we will but trust Christ’s promises, we will have that same peace in the midst of tribulation.
Notice verses 7-10
The angel delivered Peter, but note that he did not do for the apostle what he could do for himself. The angel released him from the chains and led him out of the prison, but he told Peter to put on his own shoes, dress, and follow. When Peter was safely on the outside, the angel left him to make his own decision. We can expect God to do the impossible if we obey and do the possible.
We should never underestimate the power of a praying church. They prayed constantly, fervently (v. 5) and courageously.
Christian, I want you to know that there is great power and great deliverance through prayer. You can check the record on that for yourself. The PAGES OF THE GOOD BOOK ARE LINED with accounts of prayer.
• MOSES prayed and God spared Israel from judgment
• JOSHUA prayed and God caused the sun to stand still
• HANNAH prayed and God gave her a baby boy
• SOLOMON prayed and God gave him wisdom
• ELIJAH prayed and God sent fire down from Heaven
• JONAH prayed and God brought him out of the belly of the whale
• PAUL and SILAS prayed, and God opened the Jail Cell
• The thief on the cross prayed and God gave him eternal life
• Mama prayed and your Saved Today
• Saints prayed and Faith West End was birthed
• I tell you, the real saints know how to get in touch with God!
Because the early church knew how to get in touch with God – and because many people were being healed of sickness and disease, and because many were being delivered from the bondage of sin, the early church grew!
Despite their unbelief when Peter did appear, God honored their prayers and drew glory to Himself. When Rhoda heard that knock at the door, she answered by faith; for all she knew, there may have been a company of Herod’s soldiers outside, ready to arrest them!
When the answer to your prayer is standing at the door let him in! God honored the prayer of the church and God received the glory for it in verse 17.