During this LEARNING TO HEAR series I’m taking a different approach to these devotionals. I want to us work harder at searching the scriptures for ourselves. We will use the ‘Come to Jesus Daily’ method below to help us with this. It’s well worth the hard work involved!
Today we have a number of texts that help us to reflect on the power of meeting together to pray.
‘So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.’ (Acts 12:5)
‘Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.’ (Acts12:7)
‘When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.’ (Acts 12:12)
I’ve included my reflections on today’s text below. However, I encourage you to pray and spend time reflecting (writing can be helpful) using the 5 questions below before reading my thoughts.
i. †GOSPEL - 'Gaze on the cross'- What does this text reveal about salvation through Jesus?
ii. UP – What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
iii. IN – What does this say about me, the church and how we are to relate? Is there a promise to believe, command to do, attitude to have, something to avoid, is there forgiveness to seek or give?
iv. OUT – What does this say about my community and mission?
v. DO - This has two components. Firstly, list as many possible ways that you can think of that one might apply the text (actions or attitudes). Secondly, hear - Pray about how the Holy Spirit is leading you, specifically, to respond.
We are able to pray and are assured of God’s presence and protection because of the gospel. No prison is too impregnable for the love of God to reach us. The gospel tells us that we can approach God with freedom and confidence in our time of need or when we are concerned for others.
God listens and responds to prayer. We do not understand why God allows His saints to be put into prison, but we must understand that in such times of trial, He wants us to pray together.
Will we allow this narrative to inspire faith to pray with our church family? I urge you not to wait for trials before you gather to pray! True faith prays! The author of to the Hebrews writes,
‘Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.’
The enemy will try, but he cannot derail God’s mission. The progress of the Kingdom can look vulnerable at times, but God is over all powers that oppose Him. Later in this chapter (Acts 12) we read of an angel putting Herod - who imprisoned Peter- to death! Later in the chapter we read,
‘The word of God continued to spread and flourish.’ (Acts 12:24)