But prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
One thing that has fascinated me since becoming the pastor of Nambucca Baptist Church, has been seeing the culture of the church change over the months into a very different culture from that which was here when I first arrived. Little by little as we adapted to the Covid crisis we have been drawn closer together. Despite the enforced physical separation that had inevitably occurred, as we prayed, and sought God, for His solutions, He stepped in and guided us into new ways to fellowship with one another. The result of this has been the development of a deeply caring family atmosphere that is not like any other church that I have experienced. One additional benefit has been that these same tools have allowed those of us who have had to leave the area, continue to interact and share in real-time no matter where they may be living.
This type of situation is not new to the church. It is very new and challenging for us but over the centuries the church has experienced many such crises and has emerged stronger each time.
Acts 12:5 (NKJV)
5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
The early church was established in an extremely hostile and often lethal environment. Acts 12 tells the story of Herod Agrippa who having had James murdered, seized Peter and was planning to put him to death after the Passover festival. The church was powerless to act in any way to obtain Peter’s release. The Romans had no time for any Jews, and there was a growing rift between the church and the synagogues. Herod was able to exploit these weaknesses in an endeavor to strengthen his falling popularity with the Jewish leadership. What could the believers do? They prayed. O how they prayed. The language indicates intense and unceasing, persevering prayer. They had already lost James, the leader of the church in Jerusalem; to lose Peter as well was unthinkable. “The persecution had now become universal in Israel or at least in Jerusalem, but this group of believers apparently considered no marches, sit-ins, or protests to demand their rights as a minority group. They did the one thing earnest Christians have always done—they prayed.”
A church leader in prison and a congregation earnestly praying to God for him. Of course, this was their only available weapon
2 Cor. 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ …
The great Baptist pastor and bible teacher W.A. Criswell described this event like this:-
“Did you know that prayer is the real battlefield of the world? The whole universe looks down upon that little group interceding for the life of their chief apostle. God looks down upon it. The angels look down upon it. The hosts of heaven look down upon it. The powers that be, the ages look down upon it. The real battlefield where the decisive events of time and history are decided is in the faithful group of followers of the Lord who are down on their knees, praying without ceasing to God (Criswell, 384–385).”
If we are to see our church transformed and grow I believe that it is the fruit of intense and earnest prayer that will bring results. Of course the first place that transformation has to begin is in each one of us. We each need to be revived if we as a congregation are to experience revival of the kind that Pastor Colin and I believe that God has planned for us. The question is then, are we prepared to allow Father God to do this work in us? What do you think that this would look like for you?
Lift Me Higher Lord
By Deborah Ann
Rekindle my desire,
oh Lord, take me higher
restore unto me
the joy of knowing Thee.
Renew my spirit,
oh Lord, make me alert
reactivate in me
the faith I have in Thee.
Rejuvenate my thirst,
Oh, Lord to make You first
revitalize in me
to put my trust in Thee.
Reinvigorate my passion,
oh Lord, of Your compassion
revitalize in me
the love I have for Thee.
Oh Lord, rekindle my desire,
take and lift me higher
set my heart for You afire
so I may other’s inspire!
Restore unto me the joy
of thy salvation; and
uphold me with thy free spirit.
Deborah Ann Belka
The Last word by Bob Gass
After Wilbur Chapman’s first sermon at Wannamakers Church in Philadelphia, a man met him and said, “You’re pretty young to be pastor of this great church; we’ve always had older men. I’m afraid you won’t succeed, but since you preach the Gospel, I’m going to help you all I can.” Chapman thought, “What a crank!” But the gentleman continued, “I’m going to pray for you, and a few others have covenanted to join me.”
Later, Dr. Chapman wrote, “I didn’t feel so bad when I learned that they were going to pray for me. Soon the three became fifty, the fifty became two hundred, who met before every service to pray for me. In another room, eighteen elders knelt so closely around me that I could put out my hand and touch them. I always went into my pulpit confident that I would have God’s anointing in answer to the prayers of those people. It was easy to preach—a real joy! And what was the result? Eleven hundred people were saved and joined the church in the next three years; six hundred of them were men. It was the fruit of the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer. Church members have much more to do than go to church as curious, idle spectators to be amused and entertained. It is their business to pray mightily that the Holy Spirit will clothe the preacher with power and make his words like dynamite.”
The prophet said, “It is time to seek the Lord till he comes and rains righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12). You can change your church through prayer!
 Kenneth O. Gangel, Acts, vol. 5, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 194.
 Bob Gass, A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), 308.