Acts 12 – Prayer and fasting Journal – January 12, 2017 – Pastor Dennis ShillingburgActs 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
I can’t imagine how Peter’s friends felt when he was thrown into prison by Herod. Peter was simply doing what Jesus told him to do, “Go and make disciples…” Matthew 28:19-20 and Herod threw him in jail chaining him to the prison guards. I am not sure if the disciples were praying more from faith in what God could do to set Peter free or fear of Peter being beheaded like his friend James had been earlier. Personally, I think the disciples were praying more from fear than faith because of how they responded to their prayer when answered;
“When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it (the door) and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished” Acts 12:14-16.
Whether praying from fear or faith, God hears because He loves us. Fear challenges my faith because I decide the impact fear will have? Will fear lead me to pray or shrink back and surrender the future God has for me? The disciples chose to pray together in the midst of their fear. Peter had no idea who was praying for him, but God did and ultimately those praying saw the fruit of refusing to surrender their future. Prayer is not always answered in the same way and that often brings fear, but faith presses on like king David declaring:
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13-14
Today, what impact is fearing having on your life? Are you praying and moving forward by faith or shrinking back, surrendering the future God has purposed for you? My prayer for you is that faith will lead you through your fear to the future God has purposed for you. Make these verses a personal prayer for you:
1 Pet. 1:6-7 In all this you (I) greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you(I) may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your (my) faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Heb. 10:39 But we(I) do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.