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PRAYER THAT SETS PEOPLE FREE

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"So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God." (Acts 12:5)

It is tragic that we rarely understand and utilize the power of united prayer. We fail to realize that prayer can do anything that God can do, for prayer connects us to God and all His resources. And, God delights to answer prayer that is offered in His name. He is particularly moved by UNITED prayer! 

Acts, Chapter 12, records the amazing story of Peter's capture and imprisonment by Herod. Herod was so paranoid and proud that he seized Peter with four squads of soldiers to guard him (16 men). This would seem to be a little overkill, but, if you know what prayer can do, it was not enough. In fact, 10,000 soldiers could not have stopped what was about to happen. 

Peter's escape was seemingly impossible ... except for one fact: "But prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God." 

FERVENT, UNITED PRAYER 

"But prayer" ... this is the means by which we are connected to the God who is above every prison and commands the hosts of heaven's armies. 

"for him" ... their prayers were personal, by name, for the imprisoned one, Peter. 

"was being made" ... they did not talk about prayer. They didn't nod their heads and say, "We're praying for you, Peter!" and then ignore the need. They actually prayed. 

"fervently" ... this was no mild, single request. This word is often used to describe intense prayer, prayer that accomplishes things. It literally means "stretched out." It could be translated "eagerly, continuously, intensely." 

"by the church" ... this was united prayer. A single prayer from a single intercessor can accomplish much. But all through history we notice that God is uniquely moved by the united prayer of His children. 

"to God" ... These last two words determine everything! They were not crying out to a stone Buddha or Baal.  They were making their request to the One-Above-All, the One who came to set the captives free and has the power to release anyone from prison. 

REWARDED PRAYER 

It is God's great joy to answer this kind of prayer. In Peter's case, God had merely to dispatch one angel to do the job. He appeared in Peter's cell, dropped his chains off his hands and feet, opened every locked door, passed by 16 Roman guards, and took him straight to the prayer meeting. God's intent in taking him to where they were praying was to show them (and us) the power of God and the absolute effectiveness of united prayer. 

UNPRAYED PRAYER 

It is tragic to think of the thousands that we may have left in prison, simply because we have not believed in God through united, fervent prayer. People are needy, and God is waiting for fervent prayer to be offered to Him by the church. Prayer that believes. Prayer that sets the captives free.

Posted by Bill Elliff

A MATTER OF THE HEART

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“For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been." 1 Kings 11:4

He was the wisest man in the world, made so by God. 

How could this happen? Solomon had one sin that was evident. He “loved many foreign women.” God had warned him, but he refused to heed God’s clear warning. The result was that he lost his intimacy with Christ … and ultimately lost his kingdom. His sin, seemingly harmless and explainable to him and others I'm sure, affected his sons. A tragic ending to an otherwise well-used, faithful life.

He knew (because God had warned him) that if he "loved many foreign women," his wives would "turn his heart away after their gods."

THE "WHY" BEHIND THE "NO"

This is a consistent principle that God speaks to us repeatedly: if you have an affection for something God has forbidden, it will gradually turn your heart to the god behind that affection. You will not be a man after God's own heart, like David was, but a man whose heart is turned away after other gods, like Solomon. 

He may have rationalized his sin thinking he could turn the women's hearts to his God. Missionary dating. But God has warned against this falsehood a thousand times. You cannot help but be affected by compromise. Idolatry is always deadly. Always.

WHERE ARE YOUR FOREIGN WOMEN?

Where is it in my life or yours that we think we are above God’s warnings? Where we think we can cheat the system by holding on to one pet sin with no consequences? You may have rationalized it for so long that you're thinking it has no effect. But, like the wise man Solomon, lulled away by creeping compromise, you would be wrong.

If you want the possibility of losing it all and affecting many generations that follow you, hold tightly to your sin. If you long for an enduring legacy of a faithful life until the end, release the hold on your compromise. It cannot substitute for what God can give.

 

 

 

Posted by Bill Elliff

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