Praying Together for a Prison Break

given to prayer series title

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Given to Prayer Series | Part 5

Praying Together for a Prison Break

Acts 12:1-11, particularly v5

 

Pray for HEAVEN TO BREAK IN  (Acts 12:1-5a)

Peter’s situation seemed grimly impossible

He was in a prison with no earthly way out

  • Disciples had no political influence, no major income, no military initiative
  • BUT what they did have at their disposal was much greater

 

“So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made…” (v5a)

The church had no political influence, no major income, no military initiative BUT WHAT THEY DID HAVE WAS THE POWER OF PRAYER

Peter was in prison with no earthly way out..

You may feel like you’re in a prison today with no earthly way

 

When there seems no earthly way out – PRAY FOR HEAVEN TO BREAK IN

 

5 Qualities of Prison Breaking Intercessory Prayer (Acts 12:5b)

1.) The church’s FIDELITY to intercessory prayer – “but prayer…”

  • The church’s first response was prayer
  • Devoted to prayer and dependent on prayer
  • Our first response as followers of Jesus should always be prayer
  • Pray first and keep praying

 

2.) The FOCUS of the church’s intercessory prayer – “…for him…”

  • Specific/focused prayer
  • We are all too often guilty of prayer that is much to general
  • Generalized prayer can sometimes mean we just don’t know how to/what to pray
  • More often – our general prayers are giving God an “out” so we’re not disappointed
  • They are an indication that we don’t believe God can – or will – answer our prayer – so we don’t pray specifically/with focused intent – we pray generally
  • God delights in specific/focused prayer
    • Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight (Mark 10:46-52)

Jesus leaving Jericho with His disciples and there was a large crowd

47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

He gets noticed. Jumps up throws aside his cloak and came to Jesus

51 …Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni [My Master], I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

 

  • God delights in specific/focused prayer because it is a prayer of faith and dependence

 

3.) The FERVENCY of the church’s intercessory prayer – “but prayer for him was being made fervently…”

  • “fervently” (ek-te-nōs) – w/o ceasing and w/ vigorous intensity
  • Pray without ceasing
    • Not a brief prayer or short prayer meeting
    • On-going prayer into the night (v12)
    • Parable of the widow and the unrighteous judge (Luke 18:1-8)

1 …show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart

 

7 “now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night…”

 

  • “[Keep asking] Ask, and it will be given to you; [keep seeking] seek, and you will find; [keep knocking] knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
  • Not only “w/o ceasing” but also “w/ great intensity”
    • not half heartedly
    • You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
  • Fervent prayer WILL work.. but know this..
  • Fervent prayer IS work
    • because it is warfare – the devil poses no greater opposition to you/us than when you/us pray
    • Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together [strive = fervently join together] with me in your prayers to God for me (Romans 15:30)

 

  • To pray prison breaking prayer, we must fervently join together in prayer

 

4.) The FELLOWSHIP of intercessory prayer – “…by the church…”

  • We are in this together

DC is a destination where life change happens together

During the good and the bad, we bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6:2)

 

  • Prayer is a gift to the followers of Jesus
  • But prayer is an especially powerful gift for the church
    • Jesus’ Promise – not to an individual – but to the church (2nd person, plural) Matthew 18:18-20

18 Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name,  [not just gathered, but gathered in Jesus’ name] I am there in their midst.”

 

  • 1 John 5:13-15

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

 

  • There is the sweet, powerful fellowship of intercessory prayer of the church

 

APPLICATION

C.A.R.E. card = “I want to be a prayer warrior” – part of a prayer chain

 

5.) The FAITH of the church’s intercessory prayer – “…to God…”

  • They were not looking on the situation but looking to the Savior
  • God alone could make a difference
  • When we depend on organization, we see what organization can do. When we depend on programs, we see what programs can do. But when we depend on prayer, we see what God can do.

 

  • Prayer moves us from the prison of our inability to freedom through God’s ability!

 

  • Chain breaking, intercessory prayer requires us
    • Not to focus on the chains
    • But to FOCUS ON THE CHAIN BREAKER

 

  • Do not focus on the chains, focus on the chain breaker

 

RESPONSE: Somebody is locked in a prison, and you desperately need heaven to break in

Somebody is locked in a prison of

  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Pornography
  • Disease
  • Cancer
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Adultery
  • Sex in a relationship that does not honor God
  • Gluttony
  • Anxiety
  • Abuse
  • Grief
  • Marital hopelessness
  • Guilt – for sin and rebellion against God

 

It may seem helpless, but the Helper is here

Today is the day of salvation – to be freed from the prison you are in

Today is the day to stop looking on the chains, and LOOK TO THE CHAIN BREAKER

We can never do for ourselves what only God can do

But when you feel like you are in a place where there’s no earthly way out

and you pray for heaven to break in

you must be ready to follow the Lord by faith

As He leads you through this prison break

 

APPLICATION

Take a step in faith today

A step toward God to break you out of the prison you are in

And a step in faith to let the church pray for your prison break

Yellow card: “Pray for release from the prison of _______________________”

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