The Power of fervent prayer

Fervent Prayer

Sunday 05/22/21

Message – The Power of fervent prayer

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The Power of fervent prayer

Last week we saw examples of the early church working together in honor and respect for eachother and the voice of the Spirit of God.

This week we are going to see how passion in our lives as Christians can at times be even more important than faith in some areas. The early church LOVED. They loved the Lord, they loved each other and they had a kingdom centered love for the lost.

Because the church overcame the threats of the enemy and continued their growth, the enemy doubled down and moved upon Herod to have James, the brother of John killed and then proceeded to arrest Peter.

As we will see the church prayed earnestly…fervently for Peter, but we given all of the proofs offered by the account itself, they seemed to lack faith that their prayers would be answered…and yet, they were!

Let’s read this account from the early church with open hearts and minds, asking the Spirit to create understaning within us.

Acts 12:1-25,

“(1) About that time King Herod laid hands on some from the church to harm them.  
(2)  He had James, the brother of John, executed with a sword.  

(3)  When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter too. (This took place during the feast of Unleavened Bread.)  

(4)  When he had seized him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him. 

Herod planned to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.  

(5)  So Peter was kept in prison, but those in the church were earnestly praying to God for him.  

(6)  On that very night before Herod was going to bring him out for trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison.  

(7)  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the prison cell. 

He struck Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly!” And the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.  

(8)  The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” 

Peter did so. 

Then the angel said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”  

(9)  Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening through the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.  

(10)  After they had passed the first and second guards, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went outside and walked down one narrow street, when at once the angel left him.  

(11)  When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from everything the Jewish people were expecting to happen.”  

(12)  When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered together and were praying.  

(13)  When he knocked at the door of the outer gate, a slave girl named Rhoda answered.  (14)  When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she did not open the gate, but ran back in and told them that Peter was standing at the gate.  

(15)  But they said to her, “You’ve lost your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was Peter, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!”  

(16)  Now Peter continued knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were greatly astonished.  

(17)  He motioned to them with his hand to be quiet and then related how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. 

He said, “Tell James and the brothers these things,” and then he left and went to another place.  

(18)  At daybreak there was great consternation among the soldiers over what had become of Peter.  

(19)  When Herod had searched for him and did not find him, he questioned the guards and commanded that they be led away to execution. 

Then Herod went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.  

(20)  Now Herod was having an angry quarrel with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they joined together and presented themselves before him. And after convincing Blastus, the king’s personal assistant, to help them, they asked for peace, because their country’s food supply was provided by the king’s country.  

(21)  On a day determined in advance, Herod put on his royal robes, sat down on the judgment seat, and made a speech to them.  (22)  But the crowd began to shout, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!”  

(23)  Immediately an angel of the Lord struck Herod down because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died.”

It is easy with all the miracles which we see happening in the book of Acts to assume Herod was literally eaten alive by worms right on the spot in a matter of moments. 

If read with a clear head, the passage does not claim that happened. The thing which happened immediately was that an angel struck him down – the result was that he was eaten with worms. 

The Jewish historian Josephus’ account of this offers some illumination. 

On the second day of a festival, Herod Agrippa appeared in the theater with a robe made of silver. When it sparkled in the sun, the people cried out flatteries and declared him to be a god. 

The king, carried away by the flattery, saw an owl (an omen of death) sitting on a nearby rope, and immediately was struck with severe stomach pains. 

He was carried off to his house and died five days later at Caesarea in A.D. 44.”Josephus, Ant. 19.8.2 (19.343-352).

“(24)  But the word of God kept on increasing and multiplying.  

(25)  So Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem when they had completed their mission, bringing along with them John Mark.”

Blessings!

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!