“But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.”
Persecution for your faith can come in many different forms and from many different places. We are blessed in the Western church to boldly share and practice our faith in most countries without fear of physical persecution. Yet sadly, across the world, there are many who do not share that privilege. The early church, in the book of Acts, also went through severe persecution, not just from the ‘Gentiles’, the ‘outsiders’, but from those they would call brothers, ‘fellow Jews’!
Peter, as one of the early church leaders, had to bear the brunt of a lot of persecution, as he was often the one boldly standing up for his faith, and preaching the message of Jesus Christ. Yet what is so clear throughout the book of Acts, is that the believers did not pray for Peter’s release per se, but rather for him.
Often we think that praying for freedom for persecution, or from hard situations is the answer, but when we read of the prayers of the believers, we are challenged to perhaps refocus our prayers. Perhaps we should pray instead, that God may give the persecuted strength to endure, because even in the midst of persecution, something beautiful can be birthed. Take for example, Paul and Silas’ imprisonment in Philippi, in Acts 16. Through their imprisonment and an earthquake, the prison guard and his whole family were saved, baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Today, if you are going through some hardships, persecution, or you know of someone who is, why not try and pray, that God would give them the strength to endure it and birth something beautiful from it; that God may be glorified. After all, ‘in all things, God works good for His glory’. We might not always see the fruit of our suffering, but we can rest in the knowledge and peace, that God will always get the glory. Don’t give up. Something great is about to be birthed.