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OUR PRAYER LIFE
The Book of Acts 12: 1-23
12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter (Passover) to bring him forth to the people.
12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
12:6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
12:7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
12:8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
12:9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
12:10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
12:11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
12:13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
12:14 And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
12:15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
12:16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.
12:17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go show these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.
12:18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.
12:19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and there abode.
12:20 And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country.
12:21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
12:22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
12:23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
'CERTAIN OF THE CHURCH'
Herod, who was half Jewish, was nevertheless appointed by Rome to be King over Judea, and tetrarch of Galilee, resided mostly at Jerusalem. As he continued stretching forth his hand to VEX CERTAIN OF THE CHURCH, he afflicted them, imprisoned them, and proceeded with cruelty in the life of James, that ultimately led to his death. James was the brother of John, one of those whom Jesus called 'Sons of Thunder', and one of three that saw the transfiguration of Jesus. He was truly a MARTYR. When Herod killed James and saw that it pleased the Jews (some of the Jews) he proceeded to take Peter...
PASSOVER WAS IN PROGRESS: Herod did celebrate the festivals of the Jews, and instead of putting away the old leaven of malice and wickedness, he and others increased in cruelty by killing James and now imprisoning Peter for his demise.
PETER IN PRISON: When he, Herod apprehended Peter, He delivered him to four quaternions (about 16 soldiers) of soldiers to keep him, until after Passover. The Apostles really suffered and most of them were martyrs unto death in the preaching of the Gospel Message of Salvation. Peter was next to be brought before the people. But, a powerful prayer meeting was being held.
PEOPLE WERE PRAYING: Prayers were being made 'without ceasing' for Peter, which denotes a continuance of earnest prayer. Without ceasing is the same Greek word that was used in Christ's prayer of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
While Peter was asleep in jail, many were gathered together without ceasing, praying for him. The Lord heard their petitions and something wonderfully happened, miraculously Peter was delivered. Peter was visited by The Angel of the Lord to preserve his life for further service. God answered the people's prayers concerning Peter. Jehovah-jireh ' (The Lord provided), He opened a door of deliverance.
One's personal and collective prayer life can be illustrated by the following example of an orchestra:
An Orchestra usually has one director, many instruments and players. Without the instruments and players there is no music.
The director oversees it all, as he directs the combined effort, making sure of their tonality blending together to form a beautiful pattern of music that is delightful to the ear.
The Lord is The Great Director in life, and we are His children called to perform certain functions within His Body (The Church), and He is the ultimate overseer.
Prayer is one of many important services unto The Lord within the body of Christ. He instructs us so many times in Scripture to pray, and always without ceasing.
Therefore it is very important, especially knowing that God is the giver and the taker of life. Peter's life was not up, his ministry was not over.
Although, he could have spent the rest of his life in prison, yet MANY people were gathered together praying for his deliverance and it availed much, for God heard. He answered by sending The Angel of The Lord to Peter's cell. God hears our prayers. 'While they are yet speaking, I will hear' (Isaiah 65:24b).
And when Peter was delivered, he gave God the glory in verse 11. Not like Herod in verses 21-23, we see the PENALTY OF PRIDE and it's outcome, The Lord SMOTE him. But delivered Peter.
Now, The Lord provided a way of escape and deliverance was there for Peter, but Peter had to respond in obedience to the instructions that were given him, in verse 7 & 8, by The Angel of The Lord.
Peter went out and followed Him. It was like a dream, or as we have read ... But 'thought he saw a vision'. But, when reality set in, after the Angel led him when he was out of the danger, he realized that it was not a vision at all, but rather the real thing, of a surety, the Lord had done it.
What a story Peter had to tell his friends that were in prayer for him. The Lord saves and gives life, and The Lord smites and takes life. But, let us be encouraged that our prayers are heard...'The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much'.
IS AN ENGLISH WORD THAT MEANS
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