Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
Prayer is a powerful tool and even more powerful when you solicit others to touch and agree with you on a circumstance. I had a recent situation where I was at my wits end. I prayed and prayed and prayed on it but I was tired and got to the point where I had to pick up the bat phone (a.k.a. call those who I KNOW can get some prayers answered) and slowly but surely I have seen things shift in that situation.
Prayer is a powerful spiritual weapon, but so is the power of intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is prayer, but it is standing in the gap praying on behalf of individuals or of circumstances. In the book “Beyond the Veil” by Alice Smith she describes intercessory prayer as “intercepting the enemy’s plan and interchanging it with God’s plan.”
In Acts 12 we have Peter who was on assignment for God teaching the good news. We also have the enemy, Harod, who wanted to block Peter’s spiritual assignment by placing him in jail. We have all had this happen in our personal lives or the lives of people we know where the enemy steps in to stir things up and attempt to keep us from God’s plan for our lives. The enemy can place us in circumstances that is beyond our human control to get out of, and that is where prayer is needed to help fight off the enemy.
We have all had some “prison” situations that we could not get out of by our own human capabilities: sickness in our body, depression, addictions to drugs and/or alcohol, unsaved family and friends, financial matters, marital issues, job issues just to name a few. We have all been through something that forced us on our knees and calling out to some praying saints to get out of a prison situation.
There are two topics I love to hear about and study. That is giving and praying. Praying for others is a form of giving. You are giving of yourself by petitioning for someone else rather than your own needs. Verse 5 tells us while Peter was in Prison the church kept praying. When you pray you don’t always know how God will work a situation out. You just pray and believe that He will. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24)
Something POWERFUL happens when intercessors gather to pray and stand in agreement on behalf of another person or circumstances. It can reap supernatural results that are above and beyond normal comprehension. You can’t wrap your mind around it or figure it out on your own. As the person praying all you know is God did what He said He would do…..act in response to the prayers. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)
Harod’s plan was to bring Peter before trial after the Passover. The night before the trial while Peter was in prison he was asleep. He was bound in chains and surrounded by guards. He was in a difficult, impossible situation that he could not get out of by any power of his own, but the church kept praying.
The power of intercessory prayer and a group of individuals touching and agreeing sent an Angel to rescue Peter from prison. I’m not making this up. See for yourself…..
“And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.” (Acts 12:6-10 NKJV)
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a challenging situation and all of a sudden something different happens and it changes for the better? Have you ever gone to bed feeling one way, but woke up another? The darkness you went to sleep with all of a sudden was gone. Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night and all of a sudden you had the answers you needed? God made it clear. Have you ever been in need and miraculously that need was met? If your answer is yes to any of these I’m pretty sure it’s because the church was praying! God can turn our situations and cause unbelievable things to happen that had to be an act of God.
“And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” (Acts 12:11 NKJV)
I have been a part of prayer groups where we petitioned for circumstances in one anothers lives. I have seen it in my own life and the life of others how powerful prayer really is when you have someone else to touch and agree with in Jesus name. Prayer can change things immediately. Often more than not it may take time to see answers, but God will show up. Prayer can change your life in an instant. Prayer can bring forth what you need and shut out what you don’t need. I wish I could type out and share all of the things I have seen God supernaturally do as a result of a group of individuals coming to agreement. As the person praying I have seen God move. And as the person who has needed others to pray for me I have seen God move. It doesn’t matter if you are doing the praying or the one that needs the prayer there is something powerful about prayer and touching and agreeing. All I know is God is real and supernatural things do happen!
God can blow your mind just as he did those that were praying in Acts 12. Verses 12-17 tell us that Peter went back to the house where the prayer meeting was being held. When Peter knocked on the door they were so blown away that they thought it was an angel and not Peter. God answered their prayer in such a powerful way that they almost couldn’t believe what God had done. God is just that powerful.
As a woman who loves to pray for others I am always blessed when someone comes back to me to share their praise report and testimony. I have often been left in aww as well at how God supernaturally works all things out for the good. “So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.’” (Acts 12, 17 NKJV) I encourage you that when God shows up in your life and you had others praying with you go back and tell them the good news. We are encouraged as well and want to shout and rejoice with you.
We serve a God that can work miracles and nothing is too hard for him. The next time you face a “prison” situation do not be afraid to seek the prayers of someone else. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b) Besides, there is always a peace when you KNOW someone is praying for you that has your best well-being at heart. Trust in God and watch how He can turn your situation around in ways you never can imagine. Be Blessed and Encouraged on today.
Lord, thank you for the effective and powerful prayers of the saints. Help us to remember the next time we find ourselves in a prison situation that we can’t handle on our own to pull out our spiritual weapon of prayer and call on our support system of intercessors. In Jesus Name. Amen
~Written by Felicia McKnight~
“I Know What Prayer Can Do” by Jessy Dixon & Ethel Holloway