Pray Like You Mean It

In Acts 12 you can read what would be a familiar account to most Bible readers, particularly those who grew up attending Sunday School as a child. King Herod (Agrippa), fresh off from having James the brother of John executed, imprisoned Peter with the intention to kill him as well. Verse 5 declares the Jerusalem church's response--"prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." What a spiritual response! In a moment outside their control, the church turned unceasingly to the God of the universe. Yet, as the account continues and we see the miraculous provision of God on behalf of Peter and the church we can read the true state of the church's faith. 

Verses 12-16 record Peter's arrival at Mary's home, where the church continued to pray for Peter. When Peter knocked on the door of the gate, a young lady named Rhoda came to the door. Upon hearing the voice of Peter and without even opening the door for him, she runs and interrupts the prayer meeting and exclaimed: "how Peter stood before the gate." 

The church at large chided Rhoda, calling her "mad" or insane. She continues to persist that Peter was indeed at the gate, and the people insisted it was only Peter's "angel," a common Jewish belief in the 1st century. All the while in verse 16 Peter continued to knock! The church finally decided to open the gate door to the persistent knocker; only to be shocked, amazed, and astonished at the sight of Peter.

The church had started well, praying fervently for a supernatural intervention from a God more than capable and able to do just that. But somewhere along the eight days of continual prayer, the faith of the saints began to waver. When God provided the miraculous answer, the church doubted the testimony of Rhoda and was astonished at Peter's arrival at the home. 

Upon reading this chapter in my devotional time this week, I was immediately convicted by the Spirit of God. I seek to spend time each day specifically devoted to prayer, yet how often do I truly believe what I am praying? Do I believe that God can supernaturally intervene and answer my intercessory prayers? Or have I, as we are all prone to, simply developed a habit of prayer without the heart of prayer? 

How about it church...do you pray like you believe it?

- Pastor David

Paul Norton

Faith Baptist Church, 4215 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek, OH, 45440