Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Acts 12:7

“I’ll pray for you.” We say it all the time, especially as believers. I remember when my son was only a few months old. He was very sick and the doctors in our small town couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We were referred to a doctor in a much larger city, very well-known for it’s medical expertise.

As we were making the preparations to go and word spread, many from our church called or stopped by to offer support and prayers. Some even prayed with us. The one comment that sticks in my mind the most was a dear lady where I worked. In a very sincere voice she said, “We’ll be thinking of you.”

The reason her comment has stayed with me all these years is because of how empty those words were. ‘Thinking of me? What good will that do?’ Of course I knew her heart and sincerity, but I was struck by the fact that our prayers are so much more than simply thinking sympathetic, heartfelt thoughts about something or someone. Prayer, whether spoken, written or simply thought in our minds, is a personal, intimate communication with the eternal, omnipotent, all-knowing God of love! What a privilege we have to approach Him in that way for ourselves and on the behalf of others.

The apostle Peter was taken prisoner and sentenced to death. The Bible gives us no indication that he was distraught about this, but it does give us a picture of God’s people in action. We don’t know the details, but at some point after his arrest a prayer meeting was held to pray for his deliverance. It was in the midst of that prayer meeting that an angel appeared to Peter. How many of us, if we were in prison and to be executed the next day, would have to be awakened from a deep sleep! Peter wasn’t worried. He knew that whatever happened, God’s will would be done.

Prayer works. Don’t think prayer doesn’t work when you don’t get the answers you want. Don’t think it a waste of time because no one will hear you. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the privilege, honor and responsibility to approach the very throne of God. Don’t take the matter of prayer lightly. When you say you will pray for someone, do it. Right then. Whether you are driving, walking, in a meeting or working, PRAY! You don’t know how much impact your prayer may have on the person(s) involved.

As a body of Christ we must always be ready to fight the enemy. Prayer is our major weapon of attack. It was no doubt the fact that Peter ‘knew’ his friend were praying that allowed him to sleep that night.

One more thought. Surround yourself with people who pray. ‘Thinking of others’ is a nice gesture, but thinking of someone doesn’t really do anyone any good. Your problems may not go away when you have friends praying but the burden will be lighter.

PRAYER: Holy God, I thank you for the gift of prayer. Thank you for the example of prayer in the life of the early church. Like Peter, I ask that I can have the faith to rest in the midst of despair because I know people are praying for me and your perfect will will be done. Help me to remember to pray for others and not treat it as merely a spiritual exercise. Help me to really believe that prayer works. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.