Confident Praying

by Greg Laurie on Jun 22, 2024
Never stop praying.
—1 Thessalonians 5:17

Herod Agrippa was the consummate career politician. The main thing for him was staying in power. So, he had James arrested, and then he executed him. He saw that curried favor with his constituents, so he planned to execute Peter as well.

Now, this wasn’t the same Herod that we read about in Matthew’s Gospel. The New Testament mentions several people named Herod, so we might think they are all the same person. But they are different people with the same name, all from the same family.

Herod the Great was in power at the time of Christ’s birth. He was known as Herod the Great because of his great architectural skills, and he was the one who rebuilt the second temple as well as other edifices, some of which are still standing to this day.

He also was known for his tyranny and cruelty. He had members of his own family executed because he thought they might be a threat to his throne. Thus, when the wise men came from the East looking for the One who was born King of the Jews, there wasn’t a worse thing someone could have said to a paranoid tyrant like Herod.

This is the same Herod who had all the baby boys killed in Bethlehem, thinking one of them might be the Messiah.

He had a son known as Herod Antipas, who had John the Baptist put to death. After Jesus was arrested, He was brought before this wicked ruler, and Jesus didn’t speak a single word to him.

His son was Herod Agrippa, the one who had James murdered. After he had Peter imprisoned, Herod Agrippa wanted to take every precaution so that Peter wouldn’t escape. Acts 12:4 tells us, “Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover” (NLT).

Why was Herod Agrippa so concerned about Peter escaping? Because Peter had been in prison before and got out (see Acts 5:17–29). An angel delivered Peter on that occasion. And an angel would deliver him again.

Meanwhile, what did the church do? Acts 12:5 says, “But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him” (NLT). Though all other doors remained closed, one was still open: the door of prayer.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Of all of the blessings of Christian salvation none is greater than this, that we have access to God in prayer.”

Much of our prayer has no power in it because there is no heart in it. If we put so little heart into our prayers, then we can’t expect God to put much heart into answering them. The early church believed that God answered prayer.

The Bible says, “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him” (1 John 5:14 NLT). God answers the requests that He inspires. Are you praying according to God’s will? As Phillips Brooks said, “Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.”

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