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Summary: Can we be honest? we have all thrown up jail house prayers to the Lord when we were in a jam and needed His help. What is the better solution?

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Jailhouse prayer

Acts 12:1-12:19

Introduction-

Jailhouse prayer because we have all prayed desperation prayers when we were in a jam.

We have been in the book of Acts looking at the life of the early church.

We saw what a Barnabas church would look like in generosity and service.

The challenge last week was to be a person of service and a person of generosity. To be looking at ways that you can build and help the people of God.

This morning I want to look at chapter 12 of Acts and see God’s provision for Peter when he was imprisoned for preaching the gospel.

This week’s challenge would be what would this community look like if we were a praying church? A church that actually believed that God is bigger than what we are going through.

I like prison movies.

Cool hand Luke from the sixties with Paul Newman and George Kennedy, a nice guy who gets into trouble and attempts a few escapes and get caught for it.

Alcatraz, to this day they cannot figure how a prisoner was able to escape the prison, Catalina Island, a bay with frigid cold water and sharks.

Shawshank redemption, an innocent man that spends 20+ years for a crime he did not commit digging a way out with a spoon and a pick. A movie full of excitement and drama and where the evil warden gets punished for his cruelty and crimes.

The text this morning has all the drama, excitement, suspense, and you throw in a miracle and a few angels and you got another great movie. The only problem is it is not a movie, but actually God intervening in Peter’s life in a real way.

Acts chapter 12:1-12:19 read from the Bible

Let me give you some background and history

The church was growing and expanding out in new areas. That will make the devil mad and cause him to put obstacles in our way and try to discourage us from accomplishing what we were meant to do.

James has already been beheaded for his faith.

The church is facing persecution from the Jews for exalting Jesus and His claim of being the Son of God and from the Romans because the disciples were politically making trouble.

The book of Acts tells us how the church will grow and it is usually during a time of persecution and trials in our lives.

Shows us that God will do amazing things out of the ordinary for those people and churches that are praying and believing God. Do nothing and nothing usually happens. Be hungry for God and trust that He will accomplish these things and we see God doing miracles on a regular basis.

The problem today is not that God does not do miracles, it is that people are not praying and expecting to see God do them anymore.

Think about this a minute

In Mark chapter 6, the disciples were in trouble. They were in trouble a lot.

They had just set sail to go across a lake to Bethsaida when a storm came up. When Jesus saw they were in trouble, He came to their aid.

“About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on water.”

That one verse says a lot about Jesus. He sees and He reacts. He is able to defy physics and is not bound by gravity, He can defeat the storm. Whatever storm you are up against.

Have you ever been blown off course? You had no intention of being where you are today. You have blown off course by situations you couldn’t control. You feel like you should be where you intended to go and all you want is to get back on course.

We are told to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. There is a time that He expects us to come to Him. At His calling, we are to come. But there are other times, like when these disciples were in a boat on rough waters where they could not come to Him, Jesus had to come to them.

We have to know the difference and hear his voice to know what to do.

Jesus shows up when we are desperate for Him. Notice this instance, He did not tell them to come to Him, He came to them.

Rick Warren makes a comment on this verse- Jesus did not stand on the shore and shout instructions. When you are in a storm, you don’t need advice, you need a miracle. You need somebody to show up. He intervened in the disciples’ storm.

Back to our text.

Peter was doing what he was told to do. Spread the gospel, be a servant for the Lord Jesus Christ.

What happens? Not for any reason of his own, he is placed in jail, he is put in prison, he is being detained and persecuted for something the Lord Himself told him to do.

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