TMT#4 Prayer in Perspective

Acts 12 is a phenomenal account of God at work in the lives of “all-in” faithful people. Read it. I think it shows us that:

“All-in” faith continually recognises the power of God and the importance of prayer.

Let me explain.

Acts 12: The power of God?

Peter’s bound with chains, surrounded by guards…but.

God sends an angel; inanimate objects animate; guards blind to everything. Peter walks from the prison in which he was condemned. He understood God’s power. Maybe that’s why he could sleep so easily the night before his execution!

Hear this: understanding that God has absolute power over any situation; knowing that he is in control-total control-brings us comfort.

Acts 12: The importance of prayer?

James has just been executed. Peter arrested and awaiting a similar fate. A grave situation. Verse 5 is crucial. Read it.

As a result of the prayer of the church, God freed Peter from a seemingly impossible situation.

“The angel fetched Peter out of the prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel.” – Thomas Watson

Imagine if people could say of us:
“There was ________ (trauma, persecution, financial need, etc.), but the church was praying earnestly to God…and He moved!”

When we pray, God listens. Prayer itself is not powerful, but it connects us with our All-powerful Father in Heaven.

Based on illustration by Tim Keller in his book on prayer

“All-in” faith continually recognises the power of God and the importance of prayer.

Notice that keyword: continually.

We have to continually recognise God’s power and the importance of prayer. If we have a misguided view of either, the result is an inaccurate perspective of God. We can have four different perspectives of God.

…Weak and disinterested
We live like we don’t need him. Herod did that (see Acts 12. Didn’t work out).

This is false.

…A distant dictator
We see God as powerful but remote. We can even question his love. Why pray? God doesn’t care anyway. We act out of responsibility, not response.

This is false.

…A silent sounding board
We either pray too small or pray big but don’t believe God will answer. See the response of the praying church in Acts 12:12-16.

This is false.

…our Almighty, loving Father
We know he loves us enough to communicate with us, hear our prayers, and move as a result. We also know he has power over all things. We pray big prayers because we know he can do immeasurably more than we can ask for or imagine according to his power at work within us (Eph. 3:20). This is, of course, the truth.

I want to live an “all-in” kind of faith. The kind that recognises both God’s power and the importance of prayer and see God radically at work in my life as a result. Don’t you?


If you felt this was just too short, I spent half an hour talking about this at The Brook Church in Bagshot, UK. You can listen to that here.

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