Acts 12:5 – Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
As individuals, when we pray, we must wrestle against our own doubts, unbelief, and easily besetting issues that can hinder our prayer. I know we can move beyond them, but that kind of faith is grown over time of steadfast feasting on God’s Word and application of God’s Word. Because God knows that, He has made a provision for His people through over which doubt and unbelief on the individual scale has NO hold. Let’s take a look at it through the events surrounding our Text for Today.
Let’s set the stage. Peter had been arrested and was in prison, guarded by four quaternions (that’s 16 soldiers in groups of four, rotating in their duty) of soldiers keeping Peter in chains in his cell. While Peter is in jail, the people are praying for his release. There may have been more than one group, but only one is named in Acts 12. They were together in a house. As they prayed, an angel of the Lord broke Peter out of jail and set him on his way. Ultimately Peter came to that house and knocked at the gate. A young woman came to the gate and recognized Peter, but she was so excited she failed to unlock the gate. When she told the people that Peter was outside, they told her she must be mistaken; that Peter was in jail.
There! Do you see it? Collectively they were joined in faith, all speaking the same thing, praying and believing God for Peter’s release. Yet when the news of his freedom reached them, individually they were stopped by their own doubt, unbelief, and whatever issues each one of them had. Oh, what a picture of divine power being released through the power of agreement! While each individual certainly had issues with which he/she wrestled, thus in some way hindering each person’s individual faith, Father had set a plan in place to overcome that. Instead of looking at the doubts of the individuals, He chose instead to look upon the collective faith of a body of believers, and deal with them on that faith. It was the collective faith, the Biblical power of agreement that Father used to answer their prayer and release Peter from jail.
Sadly, too many believers have lost touch with true unity. Though we come together in a group for a Sunday service, or even a prayer meeting, when we gather, the prayers that are prayed are individual prayers, prayed individually, and thus never entering into true agreement. When we truly become the BODY of CHRIST, prayers that rise will bring down answers. Oh, that Holy Spirit would lead us to this level of the unity of the faith.
Manna for Today – Acts 12:1-19; Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 18:19-20