Summary: This sermon features the 3 major result an earnest prayer could bring.
The Power of Earnest Prayer
Prayer is one of the most commonest aspect preached as many times as possible, even when I sat down to prepare a sermon on prayer, my mind raced into many aspects but since I was teaching Acts in a Bible School my mind was fresh with the perspective of prayer and how earnest prayer of the church brought miracles. That is why for meditation this morning I have chosen to speak from the book of Acts especially chapter 12 and verse 5 that caught my attention. The scripture reads as follows Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
Well in the Indian scenario now we have been seriously praying for the victims of Orissa the Christians who are under attack, this is the reason why I began searching the scriptures for an answer and the Lord put this Acts 12:5 into my thought, if the church could pray earnestly captives could be set free. But sometimes even with our earnest prayers we expect the negative. Let me illustrate this by sharing what I read sometimes ago.
A tale is told about a small town that had historically been "dry," but then a local businessman decided to build a tavern. A group of Christians from a local church were concerned and planned an all-night prayer meeting to ask God to intervene. It just so happened that shortly thereafter lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground. The owner of the bar sued the church, claiming that the prayers of the congregation were responsible, but the church hired a lawyer to argue in court that they were not responsible. The presiding judge, after his initial review of the case, stated that "no matter how this case comes out, one thing is clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians do not."
Though this is a humor the seriousness of prayer can never be contested. So it would be good if we could read Acts 12 the entire chapter because I want to draw three important results that earnest prayer could bring.
Let me at the first place take you to the context in which this entire event is placed. It pleased the Jews to see James being killed and therefore Herod in order to delight the Jews he decided to arrest Peter and put him prison and also at an appointed time to kill him, which would make him a favorite of the Jews. With this in mind let us explore the results that prayer could bring…
Firstly, Prayer brings PEACE:
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 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.
The bible records how Peter was fast asleep between the soldiers. Now I want you to picture this in your imagination, remember the next day Peter is to be executed, and what amazes me is this how can a person sleep so well, at the first place sleeping when someone watching is rather difficult and then the next aspect is he is to be executed, I call this the PEACE of GOD. For example if we have some important assignment or some exam we dread so much and we end up with no sleep but only fear. Here Peter has no worry about his execution probably he knew that no weapon formed against him shall prosper and the very hairs of his head are numbered…I am sure all promises led him to deeper sleep, more than that there is a group of people praying all night for this man to be released, it is very true it is the earnest prayer of these simple folks that brought peaceful sleep to Peter. In whatever circumstance you are in never mind, be assured when you are prayed you will have Peace, peace that surpasses all understanding. Surely Prayer brings PEACE.
Secondly, Prayer works MIRACLES:
Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."
Our friend Peter was so asleep that he thought he was probably dreaming, you know Peter is known for sleeping, even at the garden of Gethsemane Peter and his pals were sleeping not only that he was also known for visions, remember he had a vision in Simon the tanner’s house before he could minister at Cornelius place. So even now Peter thought to himself that it was all a dream but to his amazement when the angel left at the road he came to senses and found it was true. Then straight he went to John Mark’s house there was prayer – an all night prayer for his freedom and for the protection of the saints. It is pretty sure that it was night since we read in verse 18 that in the morning there was no small commotion. Earnest prayer of the believers of the church of God worked a miracle and Peter was freed. Be aware your prayers can work miracles because we serve a miracle working God.