“So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.”
Acts 12:5-7 NASB
Each of us is facing a battle. As I move through life, I make myself aware of the lives of others. It is an intentional effort to be aware of the world beyond my nose. As one given to intercession, I want to know what is going on in the lives of the people I cross paths with. It is easy to see someone and think that they have everything together. Most of us don’t like to share what is really going on. We fear sharing our vulnerabilities with others, the things that cause us to be stressed. We then feel isolated and thinking no one cares. We are trapped in our pride and pain.
My life before Jesus was a bloody mess. If not for the consistent prayer of my mother, I would not be here. I would have ended the pain years ago. My mother’s intercession for me sustained me. Today, I enjoy the prayers of many people as I go through each day.
In the passage above, the church prayed for Peter as he faced peril. He was doing the work of the Lord, and bore the brunt of the persecution, as he as the public face of the Gospel of Jesus. In that passage we see the result of a church that prays, as an angel of the Lord freed him from his chains and delivered him. This is a great picture of praying for the workers. In my prayer chair, I pray for many pastors and their congregations. These people are going before us, to lead us.
There is great power in praying for others. Many great movements of God have been launched through prayer. I think once again of the Brooklyn Tabernacle church in New York. That church was built on the prayers of the saints and the faithful preaching of the word of God. Read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, by the churches pastor, Jim Cymbala, to get a sense of the formation of such a great church.
I can say that I am one being sustained by the prayers of the Saints. Intercession is difficult to say the least, and I need the strength of the Lord to continue. I am under constant spiritual assault, when I am doing the work and when I am not. I can feel the prayers of those who are interceding for me. I have peace where there should be anxiety, provision where there should be loss, and the will to pray when the urge is to focus on self.
We are in a challenging time. I am thrilled that we are opening up, but I also know that we are far from being through this storm. This is not a time to relax, but a time to pray even more. If you are not, it is time to begin praying for each other. Pray for your pastors at this time. They have a heavy responsibility as they mull over reopening church buildings and resuming services.
Pray for those struggling with fear. Remember that we all have some kind of fear. When I watched the lockdown protests, I saw people terrified of losing businesses and jobs to the degree that they were willing to lay aside concerns for safety. Pray for the courage of the Lord. Pray that people will return to physical fellowship as houses of worship re-open.
Fear not. Pray without ceasing.
Pray for opportunities to share the hope of the Gospel. Hope is in short supply. I listen to my scanner at night to help me sleep. In my momentary wakings during the night, I hear of the suicide threats, of endless domestic assaults, and the increased calls for cardiac arrest and shortness of breath. All of those are evidences of this time in the grips of the unseen enemy.
Pray for the young people, the ones who are at a point where they are making eternal decisions at the early stage of life. Their lives have been turned upside down.
We are the body of Christ. We are to intercede for each other. Love must prevail. Intercession fosters a spirit of love, of connection, of mutual responsibility. Through the prayers of the Saints, we are truly in this together.
Ask your friends how you can pray for them. Send a message to the shut in telling them that you are praying for them.
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
1 Timothy 2:1-2 NASB
I am daily struck by the presence of the Lord. I feel like the widow in 2Kings 4, looking for containers to capture the vast flow of olive oil. As He fills my life with the oil of gladness, I only wish I had more jars.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!