I love this passage of scripture from Acts 12:1-19, and particularly verse 5 where it says,
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”
Twenty or so years ago, I recalled reading Acts 12. I was working as the director of training for a nonprofit called FIRSTLINK that served the community. My husband was completing his seminary degree, which means he was not working. We had two children. Through many hardships and financial challenges, we stayed the course and were faithful tithing members at our church. One Sunday, during prayer at the altar, I could feel the presence of the Lord upon me. I lifted my head and looked around to see if anyone else could feel what I was feeling. I then recognized a voice that I had heard before. He only spoke one word: Today.
After church, my husband and I took our children to eat dinner and returned home to where he continued his studies and prepared for graduation. With the children asleep, I was overcome with emotions and sat on the floor inside our bedroom. I can vividly remember crawling over to my Bible that sat on the nightstand. I turned to Acts 12 again and started reading one word at a time. I stopped at verse five. “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” He was in prison, but the people were praying. He was in prison, but the people were praying. I kept reading those words over and over again.
I paused, waiting for God to speak, and there was nothing. So, I kept reading.
12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” 15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” 16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
I focused on Rhoda. God started speaking directly to me.
Remember verse five said, “Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for Him.” Well, God answered their prayers, but they were still praying. Peter was free and knocking on the door, but the church was still praying.
Rhoda left the prayer circle and went to answer the knock on the door. She recognized Peter’s voice but did not open the door.
How many times have you prayed, and God gives an answer, and you’ve kept on praying?
How many times have you prayed, and God gives an answer, and you share God’s answer with someone else, and they look at you sideways? You returned to praying about the same thing, although God has already answered.
Why are we praying if we do not believe God will answer?
At some point, we must act on our prayers.
During this season, which has been very difficult for so many, as we pray, we must act upon our prayers. I am at the intersection of people, prayer, and politics. Therefore, I will be making requests from time to time.
Today, I want to make a request for Serving Our Neighbors in Hilliard, Ohio. SON Ministries, which is a faith-based not for profit which partners with children and families facing the unique challenges of suburban poverty. They mobilize life-improving resources and connect families to these resources and to a network of organizations and people who together strive to help strengthen families and their community. SON Ministries offers a respect-filled HAND UP to those in need and mobilize the community to Serve Our Neighbor!
Here’s a bit of the story, “On March 3rd, 2007 our Founder and Executive Director, Kim Emch prayed asking the Holy Spirit to ‘light my heart on fire in a whole new way’. On March 11th, 2007 she learned there were 2,158 children in the Hilliard City School District, a suburban town, where she lived, worked and her children went to school, who were living in poverty. She was SHOCKED and immediately felt God calling her to love, feed and serve them – body, mind and spirit – and to bring the Body of Christ with her. She recruited 11 volunteers who felt God calling them to ‘feed My sheep’ and together they started a free summer lunch program – in their suburban town, Hilliard Ohio. They asked everyone they knew to help and 175 volunteers from the community joined them to serve 2,376 lunches to 246 children facing poverty in their town. It was a HUGE success and the Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries Summer Lunch Camp was born! No one had ever seen a FREE summer lunch camp in a suburban town (the Ohio Department of Education and the USDA came to see it). They learned that poverty was moving to the first ring suburbs across the USA as urban cities were being re-gentrified.”
This summer, they will serve meals to 3800 children in need. They are committed to standing in the hunger gap as they have for the past thirteen years. They need our help. Click the donate link to give a gift of whatever amount to help serve meals to 3800 children in need this summer.
We, the church, have been praying. God is answering those requests, and He is using us to do so. Won’t you give today to SON Ministries? They are STILL serving our neighbors.