GOD ANSWERS FERVENT, FAITHFUL PRAYERS
Daily Bible Reading – Acts 12:1-25
Today’s Scripture Focus – “About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter…Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.” (Acts 12:1-5)
Devotion – A Pastor asked a boy, “Do you pray every night before you go to bed?” And the boy responded, “No Pastor. Sometimes I don’t need anything.” The Bible teaches us that we need to pray even when we don’t need anything. We need to daily take time to pray to Adore the Lord, Confess our sins, Thank God for His blessings and Seek God’s help for our lives and others lives. But when we or others we love really do need God’s assistance, we need to pray like the Christians in today’s Scripture passage were praying. We need to pray faithfully and fervently.
These first century Christians had been a group that prayed regularly together since Jesus had instructed them to do so before He ascended into Heaven. They spent the 10 days following Jesus’ ascension praying for God’s Spirit to come in a fresh new way (Acts 1:14), and their prayers were answered on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11). They continue praying together regularly as believers in the early days of the Church when so many people were coming to faith in Christ (Acts 2:42). But they really ramped up their prayers when persecution against Christians began to arise. In today’s Scripture passage they were praying because the apostle James had been killed and the apostle Peter had been imprisoned. The word that is translated “earnestly” in Act 12:5 depicts a runner stretching with all his or her might to reach the finish line. They were praying fervently and faithfully with all of their being because of what was happening around them and what was happening to their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Does “praying fervently and faithfully” describe your daily prayer life? If not, it should. Because the fervent and faithful prayers are the ones that moves God’s heart and causes Him to answer our prayers. In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus said that when we continue in prayer, faithfully “asking, seeking and knocking” that’s when the Lord responds to our prayers. And James 5:16 tells us that “the fervent prayer of righteous men and women has great power and wonderful results.”
The rest of the story tells us how the Lord answered the prayers of those first century Christians while they were still praying. He miraculously freed Peter from his prison in a way that amazed even those who had been praying for him. And the Lord will miraculously respond to our prayers as well when we pray faithfully and fervently like those early Christians did.
Follow-up Activity – Make a list of people and issues that you need to be faithfully and fervently praying for (it’s okay to put your name and issues on that list). And purpose to pray for those people and those issues until their needs are met. Keep the prayer list updated with new requests, and consider writing down the date when a prayer is answered.
Prayer Guide For Today – Spend some time in prayer
- Adoring the Lord – What attributes of the Lord do I need to praise Him for today?
- Confessing your sins – What sin or struggle do I need to confess to the Lord so I can experience His forgiveness and freedom in my life?
- Thanking the Lord – What blessings or people do I need to thank the Lord for today?
- Seeking God’s help – What specific requests do I have for myself or others today?
One Sentence Prayer for Today – Lord, help me to become more disciplined and more fervent in my prayer life, praying in such a way that You take time to hear and respond to my prayers like You did when the early Christians were praying for Peter.
THIS WEEK AT CELEBRATION WE’RE BEGINNING MIDWEEK DISCIPLESHIP PATHWAYS CLASSES AT OUR CELEBRATION CAMPUSES, AND WE’RE CONTINUING OUR 12-DAYS OF FASTING AND PRAYER. For info about Discipleship Classes, go to www.celebrationchurch.org and to your Campus Page. To learn about the purpose of “Fasting combined with Prayer” and different ways of “fasting,” go to www.celebrationchurch.org and click on the 30 Days of Prayer button. Feel free to send your personal Prayer Requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.