Daily Word

Pray for Persecuted | Acts 12:1-5

12 Now at that time [a]Herod [Agrippa I] the king [of the Jews] arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to harm them. 2 And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword; 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to have Peter arrested as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread [the Passover week]. 4 When he had seized Peter, he put him in prison, turning him over to four squads of soldiers of four each to guard him [in rotation throughout the night], planning after the Passover to bring him out before the people [for execution]. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but fervent and persistent prayer for him was being made to God by the church.

Acts 12:1-5 (AMP) 中文

Barbabas & Saul ministry cont.

This is the early church in its first years of existence. Due to persecution, some new believers headed out of Jerusalem to nearby areas like Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch. Some went to Antioch and preached to gentiles and many were being saved. The church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to check if it was legit. He rejoiced then went and got Saul from Tarsus to help for a year. Then they ministered together to bring a relief offering from the Antioch church back to Jerusalem.

Persecution continues in Jerusalem

Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, this wicked man pleaser, King Herod Agrippa I was continuing the persecution. “Herod Agrippa I was also the nephew of Herod Antipas, who had a role in the trial of Jesus (Luke 23:7-12)”. (enduringword.com) He put some in jail and killed James, the brother of John (the disciple who wrote the Gospel of John and Revelations and 3 short letters). Since it was during the Passover, there were a lot of Jews visiting from surrounding regions. 

Peter persecuted

Peter was next. He was the “ring leader” of this “troublesome group” so it made sense to knock him off next. Such secure custody! Was Peter that notorious of a criminal that he needed such high security detention? We’ll see tomorrow he even had chains on his arms. The assumed intent was to kill him as well.

Pray for Persecuted

What could the church do in this case? Could they protest the Roman government? Not without consequences and more persecution. How about a jail-break? Not likely with such tight security. Not to mention it might not be something God would approve of. We’ve seen that this early church spent much time in prayer so prayer (Acts 2:41-42) is their solution. “Fervent and persistent prayer”.

Does prayer make a difference? Read ahead or stay tuned for tomorrow’s passage.


  • Do you know any other followers of Christ that are persecuted? You can be certain that there are many. Most conflicts around the world have a religious aspect to them. I personally know people in Myanmar and Manipur, India where persecution continues with a religious bent. Consider getting to know or at least know about persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Pick one area maybe to focus on.
  • Do we pray for the persecuted? Is it fervent and persistent prayer? Surely they were motivated by personal knowledge of Peter.
Sri Lanka church attack. Image from newsweek.com *

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