NCW 68, May-July 2000
Q. What was it that obtained Peter's release from prison? Was it the disciples' "fervent praying?"
Do you ever wonder why it seems God doesn't answer prayer? Some will tell you that you need to learn how to pray "fervently". After all, the church made "fervent prayer" for Peter. Some will suggest that you need to "pray hard". I've never understood such a statement. Like I've suggested in other writings, does one take a deep breath, squint, hold one's breath and push! ..? Does one grunt and groan a lot, and even cry tears of deep emotion?
"Then Peter was indeed kept in the prison, but fervent prayer was made by the church to God on his behalf." (Acts 12:5)
Let's look at Peter and this particular church that 'prayed'. The night before Peter would have been killed, the Lord delivers him out of prison. (vs.11) And once Peter realizes it's not a dream, but he's really free, he goes to Mary's house where the group is gathered...doing what? Praying. They are, at that moment...praying. Praying for what? Peter's release from prison.
So Peter shows up at the door, and Rhoda excitedly says, "Peter's at the door! Peter's at the door! Come quick! He's at the door!"
Now, remember...they are praying that Peter might be released. So, what is their response? "Oh, wonderful. Praise the Lord for answering our prayer!" ..?? Oh...Rhoda! You silly girl! Peter's not there. You're crazy!
No! It's true...he's there! Come and see!
Oh, it couldn't be! It must be his angel! His ghost...
Now, when they finally are persuaded and come to the door, and see Peter, what is their reaction? "They..were amazed." (vs.16)
QUESTION: What was it that obtained Peter's release from prison? Was it their "fervent praying"? What does James say about "ones who doubt"? (Jas.1:6) "..do not let that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.." (vs7)
"And all things, whatever you may ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." (Mt.21:22) "And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments, and we do the things pleasing before Him." (1 Jn.3:22)
If you are willfully sinning, harbouring little 'pet' sins, not being obedient to His Word...in WHATEVER it may be...don't expect God to answer your prayers. If the two of you married each other after having been divorced for any other reason than adultery or the dissertion of a believer by a non-believer (see our booklet, A Question of Remarriage and Divorse), knowing God's Word on the matter, don't expect Him to hear your prayers. If your church disobediently is engaging the unsaved to 'help' and join in your assembly, don't be surprised when God doesn't bless your fellowship. It's not enough to "believe" in God's answers, if we are willfully sinning against Him.
If you "ask wrongly, in order that you may spend on your lusts" (Jas.4:3) you will not be answered, either, because you are not asking "according to His will" (1Jn.5:14)
"But your iniquities are coming between you and your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, from hearing." (Is.59:2)
No, it was not the "fervent" POWER OF PRAYER that saved Peter... It was THE LORD (Acts12:17)... IN SPITE OF their unbelief. Amen!
"Do not shout at me when ye pray, but be gentle: Let your hearts be drawn out, but not like the heathen who suppose that by shouting they can obtain what they ought to obtain by righteousness. I, the Lord, hear not your physical voices, but the inner voice. And it is given unto you to pray outwardly that all may unite with you. Neither do I, the Lord, hear the weak and feeble prayer, for there is no inner movement in such. When ye do not feel to pray, give thanks, counting all your blessings, and by this means ye will return unto the centre of the Light and be in a constant attitude of prayer" (Olive Branch, 223:9-15, cp. 1 Thess.5:17).
This page was created on 12 June 2000
Last updated on 12 June 2000
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