Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him – Acts 12:5
A precious scene is placed before us, even in the midst of an otherwise tragic and painful time for the early church. James had just been martyred by Herod, and the apostle Peter is in prison. But neither the threat of persecution nor the darkness of discouragement separated the church from each other.
While Peter sits on a cold, hard floor, the saints of God kneel before God in unceasing intercession on his behalf. It seems the more suffering is inflicted on the church, the more pressure is exerted upon the church, the closer they grow to God and to each other.
It is sad and wrong that so often, in today’s prosperous and peaceful Western culture, Christians so easily stumble and divide over petty and unimportant issues. We are oversensitive to criticism or correction; we feel as though others should forebear us, but we are not willing to forebear others. Offenses or differences which would go unnoticed in a time of persecution are made insurmountable obstacles to fellowship in the time of prosperity.
Doubtless James (one of the “sons of thunder”) and Peter (who was always putting his foot in his mouth) had at times said and done some things that were disagreeable to others in the church. But those offenses are forgotten now, as the church hears of James’ death and Peter’s imprisonment.
Brothers and sisters, don’t wait until persecution, or loss, or pain comes in order to love each other fervently. Look over faults; forgive wrongs; let go of past grievances. Love, and pray for, each other now!