Thursday, September 8, 2011
Put Your Heart into It
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. —Acts 12:5
Acts 12 records the story of a crisis situation in the early church. James had been put to death by King Herod. Peter had been arrested and was clearly next. So what did the church do? They prayed. But they didn’t pray just any old prayer. They prayed with passion. We read that “constant prayer was offered to God for him [Peter] by the church.” I love that.
The phrase “constant prayer” could be translated “earnest prayer” or “stretched outwardly.” It is reaching for something. Have you ever dropped an item that was just beyond your reach, and you were straining to get it? That is how the church was praying. Theirs was not a casual, yawning, Lord-help-Peter kind of prayer. This was a storm-the-gates-of-heaven kind of prayer. They were not backing down. And guess what? Their prayers were heard.
When a Gentile woman begged Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter, He told her, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (Matthew 15:26).
She could have stormed away, but instead she answered, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (verse 27). Jesus was not pushing her away; He was drawing her in. He knew her faith was great. And because of her persistence, her daughter was healed the same day.
Sometimes when the answer to our prayer doesn’t come right away, we assume that God is saying no. Maybe. But maybe He wants us to keep praying—with persistence.
This is the kind of prayer that prevails with God, the prayer into which we put our whole soul, reaching out toward God in agonizing desire. Much of our prayer has no power in it because we put so little heart into it.
Summary sentence: Have you ever prayed, reaching out toward God in agonizing desire? Now that is earnest prayer!
Copyright © 2011 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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