Launched From A Secret Place It Unleashes A Power Beyond Any Invention Of Man
In a time of great distress, one of God's servants cried out for God's super-weapon: "Brethren, pray for us." And so they did and now let us look at the results.
1. "They called for the apostles and beat them, and commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go."
Somewhere there in Jerusalem, as the apostles were beaten and then released, a band of Christians prayed that God would release His servants and give them the courage to continue on preaching in the name of Jesus.
"So they (the apostles) departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily.. .they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Acts 5:40-42)
2. "At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered.. .and devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentations over him." A man named Saul "made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison." This same Saul, "still breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord", made his way toward Damascus to widen his path of destruction.
Somewhere there in Jerusalem, as this man Saul continued his murderous journey toward Damascus, a company of trembling saints prayed that God would stop this giant from crushing His people.
"Suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.. .he fell to the ground,.. trembling and astonished", Saul said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-6)
3. "Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword and because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also.. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover." There in Jerusalem in the house of Mary, the Mother of Mark, many were gathered together to pray. The Passover would soon be over, and they pleaded with God to somehow stop the murderous intent of this wicked king.
"Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up... and his chains fell off his hands.. when they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate... which opened to them of its own accord... and they went out." (Acts 12:1-11)
4. "When her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.. then the multitude rose up together against them... and when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely."
Many that night prayed for Paul and Silas. Perhaps Lydia and some other women met by the riverside there in Philippi. Perhaps a group of believers back home in Antioch prayed fervently that night.
"But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed." (Acts 16:19-26)
5. "Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead."
But there were disciples there in that city where Paul had preached. As they dragged his limp body from the city gates, they prayed from the depths of their heart that this missionary who brought them the Good News might be able to continue on his mission.
"However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned. (Acts 14:19,20)
6. "The Jews from Asia, seeing Paul in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him.. .and all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; immediately the doors where shut."
The brethren in Jerusalem prayed for Paul and probably even those elders from Ephesus, who wept and hugged Paul as he left them, were praying fervently for him. They knew the danger and they prayed the harder.
"Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul." (Acts 21:27-32)
In times of great distress, God's servants still cry out for God's super-weapon: "Brethren, pray for us." If we have not begun, we must begin now. If we have begun, we must never stop. If we pray some for them, we must pray more for them ... "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." (Eph.6:18)