The Second Wave: Acts 12:5-17
“5) So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.
12) And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13) When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14) When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15) They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.” 16) But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17) But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to James and the brethren.” Then he left and went to another place.” Acts‬ ‭12‬:‭5‬, ‭12‬-‭17‬
There seems to be a connection between prayer and faith, but this text exposes a lapse of faith in the early church. They were praying for Peter’s release, but were filled with doubt and denial when it actually happened. There are some beautiful insights in this text. Let’s briefly examine a few.
First, prayer is always the right course of action. It might include confession and repentance, but it is always right to seek God. Certainly it involves worship, praise, intercession and adoration. It is both a relationship and faith building exercise. Prayer is about much more than getting our way, it’s about deepening our walk with God. The prayer room is where seasoned disciples are raised up.
Second, a lack of faith on our behalf does not hinder God from working. It only takes mustard seed sized faith to move mountains. (Matthew 17:20) Initially, God will move some mountains to build our faith. But when mountains start moving, our faith starts growing exponentially. In short order, you will be ready to stand before Mt Everest. Seasoned prayer warriors pray for things the average Christian might view as lunacy. Why? They’ve stood before impossible mountains before and watched them move in Jesus Name.
Third, God wants His church to unite in prayer. Verse five says; “… but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church of God.” In Mark 11:17 Jesus said; “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations.” They had turned it into a robbers den. He wants His church to become a House of prayer. In Acts 6:4 the apostles did a “reset” and focused on prayer and the ministry of the Word. God may allow trials and adversity simply to call His people back to prayer.
Finally, every new generation needs to answer the call to prayer and walking in the Spirit. In a very real sense, Acts 12 was another “reset”, but this time it was aimed at the second wave of disciples. In this chapter, James and Peter were put on the side lines. It was time for the next generation of leaders to step up. The second wave of leaders needed to stand up and face a seemingly impossible mountain without Peter or James at the helm. A church is not measured by the greatness of its pastor, it is measured by the depth of its people.
They wavered a bit in unbelief, but they did the right thing. God was preparing them for bigger things. He was raising up many leaders. He was about to launch them around the world. They needed prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit to be their primary method. It should come as no surprise how the next chapter in the book of Acts begins.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global