By Tanya Dubroc
“When he realized what had happened, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, who was also called Mark, where many [believers] were gathered together and were praying continually [and had been praying all night].” (Acts 12:12 AMP)
The church was suffering great persecution at the hands of Herod the king. Herod had taken the life of James the brother of John and saw that it pleased the Jews. So, he also had Peter thrown into prison by four squads of soldiers, had him bound with two chains, and with two soldiers standing beside him. There were also guards keeping watch at the door of the prison. Verse five of Acts twelve says the church went into a time of intense intercession asking God to free Peter. In the Passion Translation Brian Simmons states, The Greek phrase used for “intense intersession” means “to stretch tightly in prayer.” The church prayed stretching themselves beyond themselves and what they were feeling in that moment. They were pressing in, prevailing in prayer! And they were all together praying in unity with the heavenly Intercessor. God heard their prayers and miraculously delivered Peter. Verse seven states “a large angel stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up saying, “Arise Quickly!” Peter’s chains fell off that very moment. The angel took Peter unseen past the first guards, and then the second, and then finally through an iron gate that flung open all by itself leading out to the city.
This story gives me great hope! No matter what you may be going through at this time. Prayer changes things. Do you find yourself in a prison? Enslaved to an addiction you feel you can’t beat? I was an addict for twenty – five years. I couldn’t seem to get it together no matter how hard I tried. Over and over, I would fall captive to the same vicious cycle. I cried out to God in my distress and he heard and answered that cry. He unlocked the prison gates of my heart where a little girl was held captive for a very long time. God healed that little girl and my life has never been the same. It has never again since that day been a battle to use. The desire has been taken away. It’s been replaced with a desire to see others like myself healed and set free.
Our church has come together twice on every Sunday for thirty minutes before service to pray as a body. It has given me a greater desire to press in beyond myself in prayer and given me a renewed hunger for the Lord. I find myself filled with a greater joy and expectation for what’s to come as there is always more with God. I have no doubt that in the midst of praying for those who are going through extremely tough times God hears, answers, and He’s changing their situations and every one of us as we pray for them. We are becoming unified as a body and greater things are on the horizon!
“None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience. It is a great matter when in extreme need to take hold of prayer.”
~ Martin Luther