Has anyone ever asked you to pray for them? Did you do it? It’s one thing to pray for your friends, but quite another to pray and really expect something to happen.
In Acts chapter 12, Peter is thrown in jail and Herod’s intention was to kill him after the Passover. Verse 5 tells us, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (NKJ). The night before Peter was to be taken back before Herod, he was not even fretting. Even though he was chained, his coat and shoes were off, and he was soundly sleeping. When an angel showed up to miraculously deliver him, the angel had to shake him awake and tell him to get dressed. Peter was led right past the guards, through the iron gate of the city, and down the streets to freedom.
The funny part happened when he got to the house where the believers were gathered praying for his release. The passage takes up the story:
” …he came to the house…where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, ‘You are beside yourself…It is his angel.’ Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished” Acts 12:12-16.
Why were they astonished? Wasn’t this what they were praying for?
Intercession is the act of pleading on behalf of another. We need to develop a sense of intercessory expectation. When we say we’ll pray for someone, we should not be just giving lip service. We are taking on the responsibility to carry that load for them until something happens. And we need to expect that God will come through. Peter wasn’t worried; the saints were praying and prayer is a powerful thing. They should have been expecting God’s answer.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (NIV). Take it seriously when someone asks you to pray for them and then follow-up, expecting to rejoice in God’s perfect answers.
©2009 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including the copyright line. For all devotions, comments, and questions, log onto Sharon’s blog at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com.