In the book of Acts, chapter 12, we read the account of Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, and Peter’s miraculous escape from prison.
After Jesus’ resurrection, the church began to form. The disciples were the early leaders of this new movement of a group that would be called “Christians,” for they were followers of Jesus Christ.
As this new movement continued to gain strength, the powers that be became nervous. Many had already witnessed how the crowds grew as Jesus’ popularity gained momentum. Now that Jesus was gone from the earth, but still here in spirit, they didn’t like that his followers were still carrying on.
Those in government leadership would begin to do whatever necessary to squash this group from becoming stronger. King Herod had already had James, the brother of John, put to death with a sword. Others had already faced death, imprisonment and other forms of persecution. Now Peter, whom Jesus said he would build his church upon, found himself in jail.
It is ironic that Peter was put in jail during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. You see, this festival was a celebration of the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt. The Jews, while celebrating freedom, put one of their own kin in bondage. This is something that Luke, the writer of Acts, does not want us to miss.
Peter is not able to celebrate freedom. He is in bondage and unable to continue to tell others about this Jesus who had set him free, and many others as well.
What will this young group called Christians do? Will they begin to protest? Will they fight back? Will they just stay quiet and let it happen?
The answer is no to all of these. In verse five of Acts chapter 12, we find out how the church will respond. In this verse we find three little but very important words, “but the church.”
As Peter was kept in prison, his fellow believers began to pray for him. They began to intervene on Peter’s behalf. The church took action, all right! They began to earnestly pray for their brother, Peter.
The power of the church has always been and always will be prayer.
The night before Peter was to go to trial, the church prayed, and something miraculous happened. An angel woke Peter up, and his chains fell off. The angel walked Peter right out of prison, right past two guards. The gate to the city also opened for them.
It was a miracle! When the church prayed, a miracle took place. “But the church!”
I am reminded that God still is in the business of doing miracles. But the church must pray. The church in 2017 must pray together, just as the early church did.
When the church prays together and earnestly seeks Him, God begins to move. Miracles begin to happen.
What is it that you are praying for right now, that if God answered that prayer, it would truly be a miracle? Let’s be the church and pray together for miracles to happen!
Robertson is pastor of New Hope Church of the Nazarene. This weekly column is written
by local clergy members.