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  • Writer's picture DaRhon Conner, D.R.E.

Earnest Prayer

“5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5 King James Version).

The Greek word for the phrase “without ceasing” has several meanings: stretched out, intent, earnest, assiduous. The prayer the church prayed for Peter was concentrated, focused, directed with strained or eager attention; it was intense, serious, grave, important, given with great care, effort, and stretched out over a period of time.

This was not a lay me down to sleep prayer, or another prayer that requires no thought or effort. This was an on purpose prayer; a prayer that time was set aside for. It was a prayer that was without ceasing. They literally p.u.s.h.’d (prayed until something happened). It wasn’t a one-time thing. It was everyday throughout the day. They were persistent and serious, urgent and intense.

For the people who had jobs, they were praying for Peter while at work. For the people who didn’t work, they were praying for Peter at home. After work, I’m sure they gathered and had prayer meetings at the church, somebody’s house. They believed that prayer would make a difference, so they prayed continuously until they saw the fruit of their faith.

Prayer is rooted in faith. Jesus said, “23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11:23 KJV). This is how the church, the believers were taught to pray. So, that is how they prayed. They believed that Peter would be saved so they cried out for his release from prison fully expecting it to happen. How do I know? Because they prayed without ceasing. They put their effort and energy and time into something that they believed would work.

Jesus goes on to say, “24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24 KJV). Not only did the church pray for Peter’s release, they also believed that it was already done! This spurred them on. This was the fuel that kept them going. They said to themselves, “As soon as we believed and started praying, Peter was free!” How do I know? Because they prayed in the first place. The verse says when you pray believe. Their belief happened before the first word was uttered, when the idea of praying for Peter was just a thought in their minds. By the time they spoke, they were fully convinced that he was already free so they kept praying until they saw his release.

“6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.” (Acts 12:6-7 KJV).

Because of the earnest prayers of the church, Peter was freed. In the midst of a trial, lying between two soldiers, for us this means we are face to face with our opposition, bound and can’t move or free ourselves, guards on the outside and the inside, being surrounded by our problems and circumstances that cause us to come to a standstill, are we connected to people who can pray on our behalf? Peter was asleep. Are there people who can pray for us while we are asleep, whether literally or figuratively? The angel came into his situation, woke him up, and the chains fell off his hands.

Prayer will cause us to wake up in the middle of tribulation, and troubles that have lulled us to sleep. Prayer will cause the chains to fall off of our hands so that we are freed from what was holding us back. Prayer will show not only us the way out, but also the person we are praying for.

“8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.” (Acts 12:8, 10 KJV).

Heaven responds to our prayers. GOD sends angels, deliverance, healing, and anything we need as we earnestly pray for it with a heart full of belief. Our circumstances will open before us just like the iron gate that opened before Peter and the angel. GOD will open doors that no man can shut (Revelation 3:8).

The Earnest Prayer of Jesus

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44 KJV). Jesus prayed with more intense effort. Why? The verse says He was in agony. Jesus was in extreme pain, distress, and anxiety. He was tortured and in a struggle, specifically a mental struggle between His spirit and flesh.

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42 KJV). Jesus is GOD in the flesh. Yet, He humbled Himself and became a human being in every way. He put His divinity to the side. Jesus was fully human and felt all the emotions, pains, joys, ups and downs, etc. that we feel. At this point, He was struggling with the fact that He was about to die, that He was about to be crucified on the cross to die a slow, painful, and tortuous death.

He asked GOD to deliver Him from His destiny, to deliver Him from the whole reason that He came to Earth in the first place. He was human. He was beyond scared. He was tortured. Just thinking about it had Him stressed out to the point that He began to back up from what He was sent to do. Jesus had a moment of being in the flesh. He had a moment of being in His humanity more than His spirit. He didn’t sin; He was just afraid. But once that moment of weakness passed praise GOD, He once again yielded Himself to GOD’s will and said have your way LORD.

Once Jesus yielded to GOD’s will, the angels came and strengthened Him. “43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43 KJV). GOD knew the agony that Jesus went through as He cried out to His Father, and He sent strength through an angel. This is where we find Jesus in verse 44, newly invigorated and full of strength, but look at what it says. He was in agony; He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like great drops of blood.

Jesus used His strength to pray harder. He was still in pain. He was sweating as He prayed. Have you ever prayed so hard that you began to sweat? He was under such pressure, such stress; He put forth so much effort, He cried out so hard that His sweat was like blood! This is a condition known as hematidrosis. It is rare. Doctors believe it could be related to the body’s fight or flight response. In that state, we are on high alert, blood rushes to our extremities giving us the power to run or hit, our blood pressure is up; we are tense and in a state of high stress. So much so, that tiny blood vessels in the skin rupture, and blood oozes out through our sweat glands! Jesus was going through!

Yet, He still had a job to do. He still had the cross to contend with. He was still on assignment, and He prayed earnestly for the strength to get through. How do I know that’s what He prayed for? Because we’re all still here. He went to the cross. Jesus yielded Himself to GOD’s will, and depended on HIM fully to bring it to pass. Won’t you yield to GOD today to get the strength to do what HE has given you to do? Somebody’s life depends on you saying yes to GOD’s will and not your own. If Jesus didn’t say yes, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We would all be in hell. Won’t you say yes to GOD today? Your life matters to someone you don’t even know.

The Silent Earnest Prayer

“6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. 7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.” (1 Samuel 1:6-7 KJV).

Here we find Hannah. She is the second wife of a man who has been given children by his other wife. As the verses tell us, the other wife is a rival, not a friend. She is described as an adversary, one who troubles or vexes, causes distress and pain. The other wife is a thorn in Hannah’s side. She constantly downs her and cruelly teases her for not being able to have children, to the point that Hannah cries and does not eat. It is in this state that Hannah releases her earnest prayer.

“10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. 12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. 13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.” (1 Samuel 1:10, 12-13 KJV).

Verse 10 tells us that Hannah was in bitterness of soul. She was in severe pain and suffering. She wasn’t in a good place. The bible tells us that being barren (unable to have children) was considered a curse from GOD (Genesis 16:2; 20:18). Society looked down upon such women. Hannah not only had the other wife harassing her about not being able to have children, but the rest of society also looking unfavorably upon her. That is a lot to deal with.

It compelled her to cry out to GOD. No pretense, just raw emotion. She’s hurting, and seeking the LORD for relief. She doesn’t just want this, she needs this. She goes to the church house to pray. We know she didn’t go inside because Eli the priest was sitting outside and he could see her mouth moving, but heard no sound and thought she was drunk. So, we know that she prayed on the steps of the temple or someplace close in order to be near to GOD.

She cried out from the depths of her soul, but didn’t make a sound. It wasn’t a place where she felt she could let loose and scream her pain. So, she simply wept. She let the tears fall, wetting her face and clothing. She looked a mess. She had the ugly face, as we would say. It wasn't pretty crying, but through it all she remained silent. Imagine her weeping and speaking to GOD from her heart, moving her mouth with no words coming out. Try to do it right now. It’s hard to talk with your mouth moving, and not letting sound escape. That’s intense in itself! You can’t release your scream, so how much more focused and concentrated you are on what you’re saying to GOD, how much more stress and strain you’re under to stay quiet while emptying yourself before the LORD.

“14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. 15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:14-15 KJV).

Hannah was heavy and sad in spirit. How distraught she must have appeared if the preacher thought she was drunk. How dramatically she must have been moving and mouthing her petitions to the LORD that it reminded Eli of drunk people he had observed at other times. But Hannah defended herself speaking aloud for the first time with both clarity, and without slurring telling the man of GOD that she was pouring out her heart before the LORD.

“16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.” (1 Samuel 1:16 KJV). She goes on to explain that she isn’t a trouble maker (daughter of Belial), but she is full of grief and had many arguments about her situation to release to GOD.

In the next verse, the man of GOD prays that GOD will grant her petition and she arises from her prayer feeling better. We later learn that the LORD opens her womb and she gives birth to the future prophet Samuel who would go on to anoint king David, and GOD granted her other children after him.

Earnest prayer doesn’t have to be loud, Family. It is sincere, full of effort. We are praying against the flesh, against doubt, against the world. Earnest prayer is the cry of the desperate. We need what we are praying for. It is not an option.

I won’t suggest that you pray earnestly. Earnest prayer arises out of need. I will say that when the time comes give into it. Release yourself to the prayer. Pray without ceasing. Pray from the depths of your need. Pray until something happens (p.u.s.h.). Cause it will.

“28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (1 Thessalonians 5:28)

How to be Saved

Romans 10: 9-13

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (KJV).

9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (NLT).

Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” 11-13 Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help. (MSG).

Romans 5:8

8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (KJV)

8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)

It is your belief that saves you, family. If you believe, you will speak what you believe and not be ashamed or embarrassed to do so, whether you are alone or among others. Simply talk to GOD. Say aloud to God:

“I confess all my sin, known and unknown, and ask You, GOD to forgive me. I believe Jesus was born of a virgin, crucified, died for my sins, and rose from the dead. I want Jesus to come into my heart to make me new in Him. I believe Jesus is Lord over my life and over everything that exists. Thank You, GOD for Your forgiveness. Thank You, Jesus, for making me Your own. Amen.”

You are now saved. You may not feel different or you may. Just know that the internal change is taking place once you uttered that prayer in faith. Day by day, you will begin to be transformed into whom GOD wants and created you to be. You will care more about the things of GOD than your own personal desires, and you will want to share the word of GOD when you have the opportunity. Begin to read your bible daily, and learn about GOD's will for your life. If you are not already a member of a local church, I encourage you to pray and allow GOD to guide you to the right fellowship for you. The pastor will help you grow in your gifts and talents so that you can begin to use them for GOD’s glory, and you and the other members will encourage and help each other along this journey with GOD.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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