The Believers Pray for Courage
23 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. 24 When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— 25 you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? 26 The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the LORD and against his Messiah.’ 27 “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. 28 But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. 29 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
Whenever we embark on the work of the Kingdom, you can be sure that Satan will resist us and there will be a battle to try and prevent us moving forwards with God.
There are times when I refer to this as climbing the mountain as this requires effort. When you arrive at the top of the mountain, it is an amazing feeling of arrival and then breathtaking views. When we wrestle in prayer it can be like climbing a mountain, and when we arrive at the top it is like the breakthrough, when you know that you have the answer!
Our prayers can and do set off spiritual warfare and Jesus encourages us to pray and not faint……
The Parable of the Persistent Widow. 1 Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said,2 “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 3 And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ 4 For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 5 because this widow keeps
bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’”6 The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 7 Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? 8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
This is not saying that God is reluctant to answer, but that we should persevere until the answer comes. There is the story of Daniel praying for 21 days and then an angel appearing to him.
12 “Do not fear, Daniel,” he (the angel) continued; “from the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. Because of it I started out, 13 but the prince of the kingdom of Persia stood in my way for twenty-one days, until finally Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the last days; for there is yet a vision concerning those days.”
This is a clear story showing us that God responds straight away to believing prayer but that we need to persist. Similarly Elijah “heard the sound of the abundance of rain” and sent his servant to look and when he returned to say there is nothing, Elijah put his head between his knees and prayed. He sent the servant 7 times until the servant came back with the news of a small cloud.
Even though it was small Elijah made preparation for a deluge that followed his firm praying and declaration of faith.
Could it be that we give up just before the breakthrough. The “servant” comes back the sixth time and says “still nothing” and the devil whispers in our ear to give up!
No! Let us pray and not grow weary church! Let us fight the good fight of faith and prevail.
When Peter (Acts 12) was released from jail because the whole church gathered to pray for him, he thought he was dreaming (So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision).
God is able to do far abundantly above what we ask or think, so let us ask and keep on asking until we are on the mountain top of joyous breakthrough, when we, like Peter think it must be a vision!
Pastor Tony Hickman