Scripture Reading — Acts 12:5
Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12:5 —
When winter comes to Ontario, many people head south. When winter comes to Colorado, many head to the ski slopes. When winter comes to a church, many look for another church--one that's enjoying spring.
Winter is a time of questions: If Peter is imprisoned, who will be next? Winter can be a time of fear: Without our pastor, what will we do? Winter can be a time of doubt: Lord Jesus, why are you letting this happen? But winter is especially a time of prayer.
In a time of spiritual winter, the early church didn't run, question, or doubt. It prayed. Prayer was the early church's weapon against powerlessness.
Throughout the centuries when winter has come to the church, the church has been tempted to improve its lot through winning at politics, increasing morality, or promoting new programs. But the early church prayed "earnestly." The Greek word here--ektenos--is the same word used to describe Jesus' prayer before he was arrested (Luke 22:44). Winter prayers tend to be intense, passionate, even desperate.
The church prayed--not because they thought prayer would magically make things turn out OK, or because they knew God would make their life easier. They prayed because they knew God was in control and would work out his will. Wintertime is prayer time.
Father, you make the lame walk, you make the blind see, and you set the prisoner free. Make us bold to be your witnesses, Lord, even in times of winter. For Jesus' sake, Amen.