Fifty Days of Prayer | Day 20

Fifty Days of Prayer | Day 20

Praying for Church Planting through the Book of Acts

There are two ways to destroy a church. It can be corrupted from the inside, as with Ananias and Saphira. Or it can be attacked from the outside, as happens in Acts 12. Herod would attack the church from the outside by killing one apostle (James) and imprisoning another (Peter). But, the church was praying for him. So, we pray to be a church that prays for its leaders as they face every kind of trouble and resistance. 

Herod would place four squads of soldiers to guard Peter and would sleep between two while chained to both. The night before he was to be given over to the people he saw, what he thought, was a vision. An angel came to Peter in prison, waking him up, removing the chains, leading him out of the jail and into the open street. He then realized that this was no vision. So, we pray for the Lord to provide divine and supernatural guidance that leads us through the many challenges and troubles of ministry.

Peter then makes his way to John Mark's house, the place the church in Jerusalem had gathered to pray. He knocked and was greeted by a servant girl named Rhoda. In her enthusiasm she left Peter and the door while trying to convince the rest that it really was Peter at the door. Though the church had been in prayer, none of them believed it could be him. So, we pray for the faith to see the ways that God answers our prayer, even when it is unbelievable and unexpected.

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.
— Acts 12:1-19