I don’t understand how a 7-800,000 pound Boeing 747 can lift off the ground and fly.
I don’t understand how a 200,000 ton cruise ship can float.
I don’t understand how the MacBook Air I am using right now does what it does.
I don’t even understand (fully) how my Toyota gets me to the grocery store and back.
All of these are somewhat of a mystery to me. I know there are people who can explain the physics or mechanics, but I use all of these (well, except the cruise ship—never taken one) with a certain level of faith. I may not know how these work, but I trust that they do.
That is sort of like prayer, although it is a mystery that no human can really explain. The Bible is clear that God is sovereign, but it is just as clear that prayer is effective. We are invited to pray because we need to pray.
Now, we can get bogged down in this mystery of the faith, or, like me sitting in economy class of a 747 using my MacBook, we can just go by faith. We can jus pray.
This week’s story is a fun one. (There are places of humor in Scripture, so let’s be sure to point them out.) Peter is arrested, which is not the fun part, but then is freed by God. (That is fun, but not what I have in mind.) Meanwhile, the church was gathered praying earnestly for Peter. But what happened when Peter showed up? The servant was so excited she left him at the gate to share the news which the gathering didn’t believe. (This is the fun part.)
As I consider this text, three lessons about prayer surface for me.
We Are to Pray in Trials
This lesson may feel obvious, but we must not lose site of it. We are to pray when we are facing hardships. We are to pray when we are in pain.
Some may feel that they should not pray in these times, because “strong” Christians should weather these storms with plastic smiles fixed on their faces. Others may feel that their suffering doesn’t warrant God’s attention. Others may simply be too busy trying to fix their situations themselves to stop and pray.
No. No. And no.
When life’s trials come—and they will—we need to pray. We turn to God for the strength we need to persevere. We turn to a limitless God who wants to know, and is able to know, everything we face. We turn to God, the One who can deliver us from the trial we face or sustain us through it.
We Are to Pray in Faith
This is what the church seemed to lack when Peter was in prison. We pray in faith, trusting that our all-powerful God can do whatever pleases Him to do. He is without boundary, apart from His divine nature and revealed will.
When we pray, then, we are not begging someone who might or might not have the capacity to answer. We are praying to someone who does have that capacity and who is perfectly good. We pray in faith, not counting on our prayers to be answered the way we want them to, but rather in the way that God deems to answer them, knowing whatever that it, it will be perfectly good.
We Are to Pray in Harmony
We cannot miss how the church was gathered together to pray for Peter. Yes, we need to pray on our own, but we are also to pray together, in harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We pray together in person when we can. We physically gather and pray with and for one another. But we also pray together when we are physically apart. We pray together, on our own as we plead on behalf of one another.
Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The only way to trouble God is not to come at all. He encourages us to come to Him repeatedly, and press our claims.” — D. L. Moody (1837-1899)D. L. Moody, Prevailing Prayer: What Hinders It (Shawnee, KS: Gideon House Books, 2015) [eBook].
Tips for Teaching this Week’s Session
Every week, Karen Jones and I offer guidance to help you as you prepare to teach every session of The Gospel Project for Preschool and Kids. Listen in as we discuss:
- The big idea of the session
- Any areas of caution or requiring additional prep time
- What we hope God will do through this session
This training is available on Ministry Grid, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.