In the struggles of the early church, there were times that were perhaps unimaginable for those who were following ‘the way’ of Jesus. Here is how the author of the book of Acts wrote it in chapter 12:
“About that time King Herod violently attacked some who belonged to the church, 2 and he executed James, John’s brother, with the sword. 3 When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter too, during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 4 After the arrest, he put him in prison and assigned four squads of four soldiers each to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was praying fervently to God for him.”
In the midst of the struggle, which for some was life and death, the church prayed fervently to God for the situation. In some translations of the Bible, the word ‘earnestly’ is used, and in the King James version, the phrase is ‘prayer was made without ceasing of the church’. Each of these indicates an intense, intentional effort was made to pray for God’s touch in the specific situation. And as the following verses record, the church prayed, God showed up and worked in a miraculous way.
In the midst of our struggle today, with the Covid-19 pandemic, with the aftermath of the George Floyd’s death, we must pray fervently, earnestly, without ceasing for God’s touch in our day. And as we pray, we can find hope in Hebrews 4:16 that tells us “Let us approach the throne of grace boldly, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” Let’s pray fervently to God for mercy and peace in our troubled times.