BENEFITS OF INTERCESSION (1) ACTS 12:1-12
12 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed fJames the brother of John gwith the sword, 3 and when he saw hthat it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during ithe days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him jin prison, delivering him over to four ksquads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest lprayer for him was made to God by the church.
6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, mbound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, nan angel of the Lord ostood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. pHe struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And qthe chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and rput on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but sthought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. tIt opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter ucame to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that vthe Lord has sent his angel and wrescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
In todays Bible text, we read that King Herod killed James the brother of John. On sensing that his wicked act pleased the Jews who were opposed to the disciples of Jesus Christ, Herod went further to arrest Peter for the purpose of executing him as well but prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him (Acts 12:5 ).
The result of this intercessory act of the Church was heart-warming. The Lord heard the prayers of the Church and sent an angel to rescue Peter from the prison and also from being executed by Herod the king.
“And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. Acts 12:7.”
Beloved, we deprive ourselves the privilege of experiencing great testimonies whenever we do not go to God in prayers.
The lyrics of a popular hymn captions this error brilliantly as follows, O What peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, Every thing to God in prayer.
In our text of today, we see how beneficial it is to intercede for one another. It is unfortunate that instead of interceding, for example, for a brother or sister undergoing a siege of sin or trial of faith, some people prefer to gossip about them.
Many Christian brethren prefer to bury a wounded soldier instead of helping him to bounce back on his feet so that he could continue the fight of faith.
The Church interceded for Peter and he was rescued. The Church will always triumph if we can give ourselves to intercession and earnest prayer, one for another.
This is the reason even Apostle Paul requested that the Christians should pray for him and the leadership of the early Church (2 Thessalonians 3:1). Prior to this time, this same Paul, together with Silas, prayed and sang praises to God in prison, leading to their mighty deliverance (Acts 16:25-30 ).
The Body of Christ is in serious need of intercession. Will you commit to intercede for your brethren more?
PRAYER LINE: Organise an intercessory prayer programme in your household for at least two families that are under siege currently (O.H)