Today’s scripture selection: Acts 11-12
Key Verse: Acts 12:5
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
The Scripture is full of accounts in which miraculous things happen – and so often – there is one key element to it all – prayer.
Not just any kind of prayer. No
- Half-hearted muttering
- Mysterious, other-worldly language
- Ritualistic magical incantations
Just simple, earnest prayer.
In the case of the Apostle Peter’s release from prison, recorded in the book of Acts, it’s a story filled with dramatic action. There are enemies filled with anger; armed guards and a dark dungeon; a king bent on destroying those who oppose him; and the simple, God-fearing people who pray.
Oh yes, there’s an angel too – and a miraculous escape.
But what is the most important part of the story? That the people of God were gathered, “praying earnestly” for one of their own.
I don’t think we can ever fully appreciate just how powerful and effective such prayer is.
Maybe that is why we so often try and take matters into our own hands first, then, almost as an afterthought, we add prayer to the mix.
But reverse that order – pray with all your heart, soul and mind – first – and, according to Scripture; that is when the truly miraculous happens.
So, first things first – pray.
Prayer: Almighty, all loving God, in the spiritual battles I must fight, may I always remember the most powerful weapon I have at my disposal – simple, earnest prayer. AMEN.
By Paul Simrell
The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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