"When Christians Pray"
Today’s reading - Acts 12:1-6 (NIV): 1It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3When he saw that this pleased the Jews; he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
6The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.
In Chapter 11 we looked at the growth of the early Christians, their leaders, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives and the message of Jesus the Messiah was penetrating hearts. Let’s take a look at what is next by starting chapter 12. The King Herod of this era is not the same King Herod the Great who reigned during the birth of Jesus, it is his grandson. Like it or not, traits from our ancestors do get passed on, some traits we like and others we, well, shall I say nicely, dislike.
In order to win the favor of the Roman government, persecuting Christians again seems to be the thing to do to please the government and the Jewish people. If this was happening in our neighborhood (and for some of you it may be) it would not be pleasing, it would be illegal and absolutely wrong.
Peter was to be the next Big target, for he was becoming more and more respected and more people were becoming Christians, as you recall both Gentiles and Jews were converting. This fact was enough to threaten the empire and the Jewish family tree.
When I feel threaten in any way, I tend to want to take the defense at that very moment. I don’t take enough time to stop to see what else is happening, what lead up to this, why it might be happening or what is the best strategy to eliminate the threat. There is the word, eliminate, ugh, I thought it and I typed it. I know I don’t want to eliminate anyone; I just merely want to not feel threatened. I take feeling threatened as a personal attack on my character.
For me to set that aside, I need guidance and direction, which only can come from the Lord. Every time we pray for someone we are petitioning the Lord God Almighty for them. Experiencing and learning of the fruits of my commitment to pray for others is reward that only God can ordain. The church was earnestly praying to God for Peter while he was sleeping between two soldiers bound in chains. What is your prayer for your pastor who sometimes is caught between light and darkness, feeling threatened by the chains of darkness, unable to speak the word of God?
It is time we get busy and pray for our pastoral leaders, to free them to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dorothy Drago Brucks