But the Church Prayed | Pastor Dan Backens

August 28, 2022   /   Koinonia Church

But the Church Prayed

Pastor Dan Backens, New Life Church Virginia Beach, VA


Acts 12:1-24
Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 

And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 

4So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 

…that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains…behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him… and his chains fell off his hands …they came to the iron gate which opened to them of its own accord…

12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary…where many were gathered together praying 17 …he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison… 24 the word of God grew and multiplied.

I. Background of Text

A. Wake-up call: The martyrdom of James (1,2)

B. Peter is imprisoned by Herod (3,4)

C. But the church fervently prays for Peter! (5)

D. God sends an angel to supernaturally free Peter from prison (6-11)

E. Peter presents himself to the Intercessors who have been praying for him (12-17)

II. We learn three critical actions regarding prayer from our text.

A. Adopt a Robust      

But the church prayed   

1.  Fatalism in prayer is a lazy form of belief in the sovereignty of God.  We must understand God’s sovereignty doesn’t require a rigged universe.

2. Jesus teachings on prayer encourages confident prayer engagement.

      • If two or more of you agree on anything, I will do it
      • Nothing is impossible to him who believes
      • If you say to this mountain be moved and cast into the sea and believe in your heart that what you say will happen it will move
      • Abide in me and ask whatever you want that your joy would be full
      • Whatever you ask in my name, believe and I will do it
      • I give you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions
      • This kind comes out with prayer and fasting
      • Bind the strongman and you can plunder what he has stolen from you
      • Whatever you bind or loose on the earth releases what has been purposed in heaven
      • Kingdom of God come!

3. God’s kingdom is advanced, enforced and experienced in the earth primarily through prayer. 

4. Prayer partners with God to take dominion in the earth. 

5. Prayer grows our relationship with God as Father.  

6. The church’s first priority is to be a house of prayer.  

The Church

1. The church in Acts 12 is recognizable, organizational, and operational. 

2. Christ is uniquely present in the gathered church.

3. A high ecclesiology is important to have a passionate prayer movement. 


1.  Constant prayer also has the idea of earnest prayer

2. There is a huge difference between ‘saying’ prayers and ‘praying’ prayers

3. It is also important to see that the church prayed to God – they didn’t just talk to one another about the problem.

B. Heed  the Holy Spirit’s     

For him

1.  Your prayer assignment is where you have extra grace and unusual urgency In prayer.

2. There are special prayer assignments in a church 

3. Assignments vary in duration

4. Sometimes you cannot pray for yourself as you want to and so you need others to carry you in prayer.

C. Develop Effective

Many were gathered together praying

1.  After the theology of prayer and the receiving of an assignment in prayer there needs to be a Holy Spirit inspired prayer strategy.

2. Prayer strategies involve such things as:

a. Corporate or private prayer

b. Prophetic action

c. Various kinds of prayer: warfare, worship, tongues, prophetic prayer, prayer of agreement

d. All night prayer, prayer partners, prayer shields


Peter was delivered because of a praying church who believed the Lord and His promises. They tarried in corporate prayer until the breakthrough came!

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