Prayer is the most powerful act that we can perform. Prayer can move the barriers and obstacles that we cannot move on our own. The Bible tells us that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous does much. The situation concerning the imprisonment of the disciple Peter and his miraculous deliverance reminds us in a significant way of this incredible reality. In the book of Acts, King Herod was doing everything he could to vex the church. He killed James with the sword, then decided to get rid of Peter also. So Peter was put into prison. Who knows what awful public death King Herod had planned for him?
While in prison, sixteen guards were dispatched to watch over him to ensure no earthly possibility of escape. He was bound in chains at all times to two soldiers simultaneously. Clearly, Herod saw Peter as a threat. Why? He was just a man. A man filled with the Holy Ghost. A man who was so filled with the Spirit of God that people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats, just so that his shadow might simply fall on some of them. They just knew there was Power in his presence; a Power greater than Peter. Many sick ones were healed through the power of God resting on that man of God. So there he was, in prison for simply being full of the Holy Ghost.
What he did not know amidst his desperate situation was that prayer was being made for him without ceasing by the church members — the intercessory prayers of the saints on his behalf. Yet Peter was not up worrying about his situation; he was not fretting that he was in prison. He was sleeping; resting in Christ’s love in the midst of a severe trial. But the church prayed on…
…Suddenly, we are told that an angel of the Lord came and woke him up, telling him to get up quickly. The chains binding Peter silently fell off, and he was directed to simply walk out of the prison. Deliverance had come! Miraculous deliverance — through Christ’s intercession to answer the prayers and pleas of His faithful, believing church members.
Call to Pray
In these last days, we must be very intentional to remember the efficacy and power of intercessory prayer — believing, nothing wavering. We must pray in faith for others, while also receiving its benefits by faith on our behalf. In my life, like many of you, I have endured various trials and personal crises. So I have come to know this vital truth for a fact, such that this incredible reality has become transformative.
As we near the end of earth’s history, the battles we will endure will be fierce and strong. We may feel locked in the prison of depression or despair. The chains of habit and vice may bind us, but take heart — our gracious God bends His ear low to hear the prayers of the righteous, together with our own desperate prayers. And especially when we feel too overwhelmed, inundated, and confused to pray appropriately for ourselves, the prayers of other faithful believers availeth much! Chains are broken and prisoners are set free!!!
I recently had such an experience that has given me an even greater appreciation and eternal gratitude for those who pray for me. What a blessing! What a gift! Let us pray without ceasing — believing, trusting, practicing, and receiving the benefit of intercessory prayer.
Further reading: Mark 11:22-24; James 5:13-18; Acts 12:1-11; Acts 5:15-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:17