At a casual glance, all may seem perfectly healthy, no apparent abnormality or malfunction. But deep within the human body, hidden from view, lies the pancreas, tucked inconspicuously behind the stomach, surrounded by the small intestine, liver, and spleen. A healthy pancreas produces the correct chemicals, in the proper quantities, released at just the right moment, to aid in the digestion of the foods we eat. Within that small organ, cells create and release insulin and glucagon, both essential in regulating our levels of blood sugar. Any malfunction in this small cluster of cells can result in a disease known as diabetes. If that one seemingly insignificant organ ceases to make its essential contribution, the entire digestive system is amiss.
In the holy city of Jerusalem, Herod the king was on the warpath, as he “stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church” in a vicious attempt to purge Christianity from his empire. Persecution had wreaked havoc on this group of follows of Christ, this newly formed New Testament church. Fear was spreading as the blood of martyrs began to flow. James, the brother of John, had been killed, Stephen had been stoned to death, and Peter “was kept in prison,” under heavy guard, in a hopeless situation. But unbeknownst to anyone, help was on the way, a secret weapon was about to be discharged.
Hidden behind the scenes, “in the house of Mary the mother of John…prayer was made without ceasing of the church;” help was being sought in this dire situation. Those early believers sensed the urgency of the Peter’s desperate plight, and took the problem to their Father, devoting themselves to fervent prayer for their incarcerated brother. Their persistent prayer was about to unleash the awesome power of God. Peter was asleep, “between two soldiers, bound with two chains,” guarded by two keepers of the prison, allowing for no human means of escape. But Someone else was at work, for God sent the “angel of the Lord,” who “smote Peter on the side,” waking him from his slumber. Then this God-sent angel miraculously walked Peter “past the first and second ward,” through the “iron gate that leadeth unto the city,” and on to freedom. Peter “came to the house of Mary…where many were gathered together praying” for him. Those prayer warriors “were astonished,” struggling to grasp the reality that God had responded to their supplication in such a miraculous way. The faithfulness of their unceasing prayers bore its fruit as this prayer meeting morphed into a celebration of praise!
The body of Christ becomes anemic and ineffective when the conduit of prayer is abandoned. Prayer is essential, and when it is lacking, the entire body suffers immensely. Prayer is our secret weapon, our key to unlocking the power of a miracle-working God. We are to “pray without ceasing,” to have that spirit of prayer with us throughout our day as we intercede for those God places on our heart. Although our Father may not respond exactly how we expect, He will always respond with our best in mind. What’s hidden in our prayer closet is necessary to our spiritual health, and the health of the entire body of Christ.
I Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Lord, I need to be better at prayer, more responsive to Your leading, more burdened for those who are in need of that intercession. Remind me daily to spend less time in useless pursuits and more time communicating with You.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1628-6513b5adbfed9' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1628&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1628-6513b5adbfed9' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1628-6513b5adbfed9' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>