Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him– Acts 12:5

Pain, sorrow, and loss drive us to prayer — and to a turning point — here in this story, and always.

James is beheaded by Herod and Peter is awaiting his execution in jail…but prayer was made. This is the turning point of the entire chapter. Although it begins with Herod on a rampage, the chapter ends with the gospel on a rampage: “the word of God grew and multiplied” (24).

In the end, Jesus’ reputation, not Herod’s, was increased through these events; but it is at the point of prayer that the massive shift in direction occurs. And there are four notable elements of this pivotal prayer:

First, it was without ceasing. Jesus himself tells us that we will continue receiving and finding as we continue asking and searching (Matthew 7:7). Second, the prayer was made by the church. If we do not pray for one another in the body of Christ, who will pray for us?

Third, this prayer was unto God. Not all prayer is to the one true and living God. Jesus says, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). And fourth, the prayer was made for him, for Peter. Personal, intercessory prayer is Christ’s command to his church. We are to “remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them” (Hebrews 13:3).

Does this kind of prayer characterize and permeate your closet, your church? If so, then rest assured that it will be a turning point in the midst of your needs and wounds and losses.