In Acts chapter 12, we read a great story of how God changed the course of history when His people prayed:
"About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
"Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, 'Get up quickly.' And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, 'Dress yourself and put on your sandals.' And he did so. And he said to him, 'Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.' And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, 'Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting'" (vv. 1-11).
There are two things we should notice in this passage. One is the power of Satan. And the second is the power of prayer.
1. Statan is real and powerful.
First, we see in this story that Satan is on the rampage. Herod, the evil king, is on the throne. James has been murdered. And Peter is in prison. I don't think you or I should ever underestimate the power of Satan.
Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy." Do you know what this means? Satan is a murderer. Remember that. Satan is a murderer.
- He wants to kill your witness.
- He wants to kill your reputation.
- He wants to kill your contentment.
Have you ever thought about that? First Peter 5:8 says, "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." Have you ever seen one of those TV programs that shows a lion attacking its prey? That's what Satan is looking to do.
But you know what's great? As Christians, we aren't helpless against Satan's attacks. We're not helpless because we have a weapon. That weapon is prayer. And that's the second thing we should see in this passage.
2. Prayer is deeply meaningful and vastly powerful.
We see in Acts 12 that the first-century Christians prayed like crazy for Peter's release. And as you know, God intervened, Peter was set free, and the gospel of Christ continued to be preached. That's the power of prayer at work!
Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
Yes, our battle is a spiritual one! And because of this, we must use the spiritual weapon of prayer.
Be encouraged today. No matter what battle you're fighting, keep looking to God. Keep talking to Him. Because of the shed blood of Jesus and the power of His resurrection, you and I, as believers, have open access to His throne.
You may be taking a few hits by the enemy, but I promise you on the authority of Scripture, a victory is coming. Satan will be defeated. And joy will come in the morning!
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Pastor Jack Graham is the voice of PowerPoint Ministries. His passion is to lead men and women from all walks of life into a more intimate and life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Pastor Graham has led the more than 28,000-member congregation at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas since 1989, and is the author of several books including You Can Make a Difference, Diamonds in the Dark, Lessons from the Heart, A Hope and a Future, Life according to Jesus, and A Man of God.
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