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“Debbie, God wants you to press in and learn to pray more.”
I laughed and said, “that’s what I have you for mom. You’re the intercessor, not me.”
I know the interchange may seem silly to you and my response flippant, but it was a real conversation I had with my mom years ago. Sure, I prayed, but I didn’t see myself as an intercessor or a powerful prayer warrior. But God wanted to change my attitude, my heart and my prayer life. He wanted me to learn about effective and powerful prayers.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16b NIV).
Prayer in simple terms is communication with God. It is communing with Him in the context of relationship. It doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, it’s a conversation. Sometimes in our conversations with God, our prayers can become passionate and intense for a powerful purpose.
We see such a story in the book of Acts 12:1-18, when the early church is motivated to prayer intensely. Peter finds himself in prison after James had been killed awaiting execution by Herod. The early church is concerned about losing Peter too, so they take to their knees in earnest prayer.
So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting” (Acts 12:5-16 NIV).
Scripture tells us this prayer for Peter was intense, it was fervent, and it was passionate. It also shows four results we can expect when we pray fervently.
4 Results of Passionate Prayer
Prayer Brings Light into Dark Places
Passionate prayer can bring light into the darkest situations.
“A light shone in the prison… and he said, Arise quickly!” (v.7).
We must not forget just how powerful prayer is. Ephesians 6 tells us we do not fight against flesh and blood. Our prayers are fighting against spiritual forces that linger in dark places.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12).
Prayer is our tool to win the battle. Prayer gives us the strength and the faith to finish the race victorious. Prayer is so powerful it has the power to defeat the devil and his power over us. He wants to destroy us, but God wants to bring us closer to Him as we pray.
Prayer Brings Breakthrough for Us and Others
Passionate prayer can set us and others free from bondages, worries and fears. The early Church had a problem there was no natural solution to, so they prayed for a miracle. The miracle of Peter’s deliverance.
“Peter was bound with two chains between two soldiers… And his chains fell off his hands.” (v.7).
Passionate prayer can bring breakthrough and give us wisdom and direction for our life when the enemy is closing in.
“The angel said, “Follow me.” So he went out and followed him.” (v.8).
The Church’s intercession and prayer was the catalyst for Peter being set free. God is calling us to passionate intercession as well, for a world that is lost and hopeless. We have loved ones that need breakthrough and deliverance and God is calling us to intercede and stand in the gap for them.
“I sought for a man among them [to]…stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: (Ezek. 22:30)
Prayers Release the Miraculous
- Many miracles happened throughout this account in Acts 12.
- Herod’s delay until after Passover (v. 4)
- Guards rendered unconscious (v. 6)
- Angel appears (v. 7)
- Chains fell off (v.7)
- Gates unlock & open by themselves (v. 10)
- Peter escapes being recaptured (v. 19)
- Herod dies (v. 23)
In Matthew 21:21-22. Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” As the Church prayed, Peter was removed from the prison. As we pray, others can be set free from their bondages as well.
When the Church prayed, angels were released to bring miraculous deliverance to Peter and it can happen today. According to Hebrews 1:14, angels are spirits sent to serve the heirs of salvation. And Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday today and forever.”
Prayer Builds our Faith to Have Great Expectations
Passionate prayer brings results even when we sometimes doubt.
“when they opened the door and saw him, they were AMAZED.” (v.16)
When the HS gives us insight as we prayer, it not only builds our faith, but it also gives us an authoritative edge to prayers. We can make bold proclamations and declarations because of the revelation we receive through our prayers.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him (1 John 5:14-15).
The early church was a church that hell couldn’t handle, and we need to be too. I wrote about it here:
The early church was a church that believed and understood the power of prayer. They showed us what’s possible when we pray.