The church of the Acts of Apostles: The praying church
Text: Acts 2:42; Acts 12:1-10.
Key Verse: Acts 12:5 “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” (KJV).
A praying Church is a Powerful Church, and a Powerful Church is a productive Church, and a Productive Church is a Progressive Church. Prayer is to the Church what oxygen is to the body. To pray is to live and not to pray is to die. In Biblical and historical times, praying Churches have exerted tremendous power and impact on the world. Prevailing prayers shape world history. It is, however, unfortunate that in many Churches today, the prayer fire is dying down. This is due to materialism, Church politics, compromise, unbiblical practices, reckless manipulations, secret sins, carnal indulgence, over rationalisation, too much learning and empty religiosity.
A powerless Church does not, please nor glorify God because there is absence of manifestation of the supernatural in the Church, which is one of the major characteristics of the Church of the Acts of Apostles.
The early days of the church witnessed the power of God moving in miraculous ways. 3,000 people were saved on one occasion, Acts 2:41; and 5,000 were saved on another occasion, Acts 4:4. The early church was marked by the manifest presence and power of God. He was on them to such a degree that “fear came upon every soul”, Acts 2:43. The church was growing; God was glorified; Jesus was being preached and sinners were being saved.
But, not everyone was pleased! The Jews hated the message of the Gospel, and with so many Jews turning from Judaism to follow Jesus, Acts 19:9; 23; 24:22; it wasn’t long before the church came under fire of persecution from its enemies.
The Jewish leaders had tried to arrest the Apostles and forbidding them to preach the Gospel, Acts 4:1-23. That did not work, so they arrested Stephen, tried him and stoned him to death in an effort to stem the growth of the church, Acts 6:8-7:60. This failed to achieve the desired results, as well. The Jews continued their efforts to stop the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They used hired guns like Saul of Tarsus; but he wound up getting saved. They persecuted the saints and many members of the church were scattered to the four winds of the earth. Still, the church continued to grow and prosper.
In Acts Chapter 12, we see Herod, seeking to curry favour with the Jews, arrested James, the brother of John and had him killed. When he saw this pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter and put him in prison, and planned to kill him, too. Herod ordered guards to watch Peter.It is important to point out that Peter arrived in this prison through no fault of his. The offence Peter committed was preaching Jesus.
While Peter was in prison, the Church of the Act of Apostles offered prayer to God for Peter’s deliverance. Prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. They prayed intensely, earnestly, and without ceasing. The church prayed, and they kept on praying, until God dispatched an angel from the celestial shores of Shekinah glory to rescue Peter.
Herod had already concluded plans to execute Peter the following morning. The night before the next morning Peter was to die; an Angel of God broke into the prison, while Peter was sleeping and light shined in the prison. The Angel touched Peter, woke him up and said to him arise. The chains that they bound Peter with fell off Peter’s wrists and the Angel took Peter out of the prison. Peter made his way past the guards and the Iron Gate swung wide open all by its self.
If we must restore the Church of the Acts of Apostles in our time, witness unusual divine visitation and participate in the ongoing end time charismatic revival, we must restore the Spirit of Prayer to our Churches. This is the only way to experience a fresh visitation of God’s Spirit and Power.
James 5:16 is true in teaching, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Prayer generates tremendous power and produces uncommon results. C. Spurgeon said, “Prayer moves the arm that moves the world.”
Today’s Nugget: Prayer generates tremendous power and produces uncommon results.
Prayer: Lord, restore the Spirit of Prayer in our Churches
Prayer line: Send text only to 09078154261.
Dr. Chidi Okoroafor, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God Nigeria
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