C.F. Leach|Longreads|June 2019|6 minutes (1,085 words)
Traditionally ASAP was understood to mean As Soon As Possible. Yet I submit to you that in this reading it is understood to mean Always Say A Prayer.
At the beginning of Acts Chapter 12:1-4. It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
When you are hemmed in and there is no real clear direction on how you are going to get out. You must trust in God. No event in your life is complete without a generous seasoning of prayer. ASAP
Have you ever felt like some issues in your life are just too hard to bare? That the issues on your shoulders are just too heavy to carry? Here is where you need a Selah. The meaning of Selah here is “pause and calmly think about that.” In other words, in this place you need to exhale and trust God. ASAP
The tenacity of praying is very important. At one point or another in life; we have all gotten to a place where we’ve wanted to give up because the situation we were praying for looked hopeless and wasn’t improving. Or you got into a mind game with the enemy who had you thinking God’s not hearing your prayers so what’s the use. Here we must be reminded of Daniel who prayed and his prayer was held up for 21 days. But… Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. (Daniel 21:10)
Perhaps like Daniel your prayer is delayed. But it is not denied. Because God DOES answer prayers. ASAP
We must be a people of prayer. Prayer is a shield to your very soul. The problems we have be they internal or external are not ours to fix. But ours to pray. If you are always before the LORD in prayer then you are never out of His timing! ASAP
Do I pray? Do you pray? And in that prayer is it an effectual fervent prayer? Are your prayers pleasing to God that he would say to you as he answered Solomon… So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” (1 Kings 3:1-15)
Have you made a conscious decision that there is no better approach in your life than to bathe your day—to saturate the hem of your garments with prayer? The morning is intent on leading you into a deeper life of prayer. We must cover everything we do in prayer.
Herod had stretched his hand out against the church. The church has always been willing to step out on the fire of the Holy Spirit. And Peter was sleeping between two soldiers bound in chains awaiting to be beheaded. As the sentries stood guard at the prison entrance. But, the church had been praying and never ceased praying. Because of those never-ending prayers… Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” (Acts 12:7-11)
God sent the angel to set Peter free. The church was in prayer and God was at work! ASAP
We must pray without ceasing for others—not selfish prayers. Prayers like Solomon prayed. (1 Kings 3:3-9) Not only should we be shakers of our families, but shakers of regions and nations on this earth. Though we are a nation that possesses freedom of religion; there are persecuted churches around the world that need prayer.
The reality is God has the final say so. We always seem to think this point is some sort of fantasy or myth. But, He desires for us to saturate ourselves with prayer because He is a God who answers prayers. That is why Herod never got a chance to kill Peter. Had the church not prayed the results would have been much different. ASAP
Our God is intent on the plans He has formulated—not man’s plans for us. Simon Peter might have failed to realize that God always has the final say. God has a radar or GPS. (God’s Predestined Satellite) He is always leading us and taking us in the direction of destiny. We know this to be true according to Jeremiah 29:11 where God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ASAP
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