“The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMPC)
Never underestimate the power of prayer because prayer is making the Most High God get involved in everything that we think, say and do. Trusting in and of our ability, we are limited. But inviting Him into our daily dealings in life, He takes off the limitations of our natural capacity and takes us into His divine supernatural ability. Only then we can confidently say, “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].” (Philippians 4:13 AMPC)
I so love the passage in the Bible about Peter’s miraculous escape from prison all because fervent prayer for him was persistently made to God by the church. It was the time when King Herod stretched out his hand to harass Christ’s followers. About that time, James the brother of John was already killed with the sword. Because King Herod saw how it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. He had Peter arrested, put him in prison, delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.
“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.
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, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” (Acts 12:5-11)
Because the church prayed for Peter, he experienced a supernatural deliverance which he himself at first thought was only a vision. Oh how our prayers can move mountains indeed. How it can effortlessly set free those we are praying for to such an extent that knows no bound.
What struck me more was the thought that those who were praying for Peter were not even expecting him to be supernaturally freed. It was never in their wildest imagination that their prayers had that tremendous and powerful effect on Peter’s situation. They were not aware of how their petition penetrated into the spirit realm that caused the natural realm to submit and align into what was happening invisibly.
“Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”
When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!”
“You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”
Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers what happened,” he said. And then he went to another place. (Acts 12:11-17 NLT)
A lot of our “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor mind can conceive” answered prayers come across the same way to unbelievers. But how many believers respond the same way as well? Our minds have not been renewed nor reprogrammed yet to expect the unexpected that our prayers indeed avail much.
Stories like these in the Bible are written invitations for us to have a revelation of how powerful and effective our prayers can be. It gives us the confidence to pray and expect. God did not call us to presumptions. He called us to assurance that when we “CALL TO HIM, HE WILL ANSWER US AND SHOW US GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS THAT WE DO NOT KNOW (Jeremiah 33:3). Come with the assurance are expectations as expressions that we believe what He has spoken, that He hears us when we pray and that He answers us when we do.
One day, I was driving to have my car checked. Just as I turned into the main street, it was bumper-to-bumper traffic due to fire that hit some houses nearby. The other side of the road was closed to give way to the fire trucks and ambulances.
As I was waiting for the traffic to move, a condemning thought came to me that I shouldn’t have left the house, that I should have done it on the following week, or that I should have left earlier. Before I knew it, I started to feel frustrated. But the Holy Spirit quickened and awakened me to switch my thinking to think redemptive thoughts instead. The unction was so strong and the still small voice started to become distinctively almost audibly hearable that resonated in my heart. He said, “Why don’t you pray for those who are going through the chaos of fire? Pray for the firemen! Pray for the paramedics! Pray that there will be peace and order!”
Hmmmm … I never experienced something like this before, but behold, He is ALWAYS doing a NEW thing in us and through us. He is always leading us to conquer new territories for the advancement of His kingdom.
Because I had a revelation of what happened to Peter when his church prayed for him, in an instant, courage and strength started to rise up within me. Then, I started to pray and declare, bind and loose. I so confidently believed in my heart that my prayers mattered regardless if I would visibly witness the outcome or not. I just knew that when we give voice to the word of God, both the invisible and visible realms respond to it. His Words are spirit and life, sharper than a double-edged sword. His Words are likened to water that quenches fire, like a sledge-hammer that pulverizes even that of utmost resistance. The power that flows in and through us is not of or from us lest nothing will be accomplished. But “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, THAT THE EXCELLENCE OF POWER MAY BE OF GOD and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) SURELY “it is not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of God.” (Zechariah 4:6)
When I was done, I was exceedingly full of courage and strength, and was amazingly filled with joy. Glory to God!
Lesson learned: Never take for granted what we can do in such a time where we are in. I believe we are positioned by the Lord to be His mouth piece, His hands and feet, His glory carriers, His addresses in the earth, called to advance His kingdom by the power of our prayers.
When Jesus is our Good Shepherd, it is He Who leads us to be at the right place at the right time, doing with right thing, with the right heart, with the right thoughts coming into our minds and speaking the right words out of our mouths. Indeed, in everything we do, we shall NOT LACK, for in Christ, ALL THINGS CONSIST.
“You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you; and the light [of God’s favor] shall shine upon your ways.” (Job 22:28 AMPC)