Standing In the Gap, Evans Olang

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1Thessalonians 5:17&18, “Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”

A tool given by God to us and most needed and mostly neglected is prayers. We like the disciples would love the Mount of Transfiguration experience and even stay awake there but fall asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. We would get bored easily. David Wilkerson said, “we love the supper room more than we love the upper room”. The enemy does not mind us doing anything else as long as we are not praying.

Acts 12:1-3, “Now about that time Herod the king stretched his hand to harass some from the church. Then 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”. Before Jesus Ascended into heaven, He told His disciples of what was to come ahead, John 16:33, “These things have I spoken unto you that in me you might have peace, in the world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world“. It was a preparation accompanied with a promise. We then we see the disciples experiencing the same things Jesus had prepared them for. Jesus reminded His disciples of what was to come in His absence at the same time He also gave them assurance of how He would be there to stand with them. Soon after His departure, tribulation started, Stephen was stoned to death, James is killed and Peter was next.

Here is my question, why is it easy to wait for something to happen before we do something about it? we wait until we are in a jam before we act. Now that might not have been the case with Peter since we don’t have all the details, all we know is that when Peter was arrested, the home church went to work, Acts 12:5, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for Him by the church”. In another version says “but prayer was made without ceasing”. This is what we call intercession, someone standing in the gap on behalf of someone else. Prayer warriors are like the attorneys in the courts of law fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. They understand the law well (God’s word) and the promises in His word. We don’t know if the church stood in the gap on behalf of James like they did with Peter. Perhaps they did and it was God’s will to take James. In spite of what happened to James, that did not stop the believers from crying out to God for Peter. What happened to James did not discourage their faith in God, if anything, it intensified their prayers.

Peter had several attorneys standing in the gap, pleading with God to spare his life and so they prayed without ceasing, continuously, fervently, purposefully, earnestly, and diligently. Praying without ceasing is not praying without stopping but praying without giving up that is the difference. I could pray for something today for half an hour and stop but that does not mean I have given up, I will pray again tomorrow for it and the days to come. That is praying without ceasing. 1Thes 5:17&18, “Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. We understand what it means “praying without ceasing”, but do we explain, “in everything give thanks for this is the will of God“? does that mean for my problems I should give thanks and also in my afflictions and frustrations? should I give thanks for this is His will?. No, the will of God is to praise and give Him thanks even in the midst of the situation, giving Him thanks IN IT and not FOR IT. Giving thanks is a sign of “I have faith that you will bring me out of it”, I don’t see it now but I know you will. Giving thanks is appreciating what He is doing even at that given moment. Giving thanks is choosing to believe His report over what you heard, know or what you are in. Giving thanks is knowing that He already had an escape plan for you even before you got into it. I believe that the church that was praying for Peter was giving thanks in advance, pouring their hearts to God.

We all need someone to confide in when it comes to praying for there are times when will be overwhelmed that you will need someone to cover you in prayers. I’m talking about prayer partners, Peter being weary, tired and in pain bound between two guards may have found it tough to pray but thank God for the church, the saints who prayed for him. The prayer of the saints kept him comfortable in prison, he slept through it. The end of the story, God intervened and Peter was released from prison by an angel. You can be comfortable in a storm because someone is standing in the gap pleading your case. Like Peter, do you have those interceding with and for you without ceasing? Blessings Ev

 

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