Great Plains Daily Devotional for 3/16/2023: Acts 12:5-17

Today please be in prayer for

Lincoln New Visions Community UMC
Blue River District
Lincoln Newman UMC
Blue River District
Lincoln Saint Paul UMC
Blue River District
Lincoln Saint Paul UMC
Blue River District

Today's Lectionary Text

Acts 12:5-17 (NRSVUE)

While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.
The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” Peter[a] went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. 11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
12 As soon as he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many had gathered and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the outer gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. 14 On recognizing Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile Peter continued knocking, and when they opened the gate they saw him and were amazed. 17 He motioned to them with his hand to be silent and described for them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he added, “Tell this to James and to the brothers and sisters.” Then he left and went to another place.

Today's Reflective Questions

  • What is God saying to you through this/these texts?
  • How will you allow this/these scriptures effect your prayer life?
  • Where do you find yourself as you pay attention to this scripture?

Today's Devotional

This Week's Lenten Focus: Prayer

This Lenten season, Bishop David Wilson, along with some conference staff and members of the laity, are inviting the people of the Great Plains Conference and beyond to “Pay Attention to God’s Voice” during this season of Lent. This week's focus is Prayer.

Prayer is at the heart of Christianity. Prayer is connecting to God, showing our heart. Prayer is also listening, listening, listening. There is no one right way to do it. What we have found is that the more we pour out our heart to God, the more connected we are to God. The more connected we are to God, the more strength we have to pray. Sometimes our prayers are intimate. Sometimes our prayers are universal. Sometimes they are coherent and sometimes discombobulated. Sometimes we are silent. Each of these have ways that connect us to God who is both intimate and universal, who cares enough to have created each of us and also created the universe.

There have also been times when we could not pray, we did not know how to pray, we did not know what to pray, or how to even begin. It is in these times especially that we give God thanks for people who have come alongside us to be a prayer advocate.

Prayer in its many forms is vehicle for mutual communication with God. Not only talking to God but also sensing where ... when ... how God is speaking and what is God saying. As with Elijah on 1 Kings 19:11-13 ... often God is in the thin silence ... a still small voice.

Rev. Dr. Shelly Petz and Rev. Dr. Charlotte Abram

Synopsis of Prayer Practice: Prayer Advocate

Friends, we invite you to consider having a prayer advocate, someone who can prayer with you on your behalf. We each have both been people who have prayed for others and people who have been prayed for. If you have someone who prays for you, how has your life been changed? If you have not had someone praying for you, would you consider this? Would you consider this for such a time as this? What would it look like to show your heart to God and to one other person and invite them to pray on your behalf? When we are in the midst of so much all around us, what would it look like to pay attention to God and invite someone alongside us as we do to pray on our behalf? We also invite you to invite someone to be your prayer advocate during our Lenten journey, someone who prays with and for you. Or consider entering a prayer partner relationship, mutually praying for each other. Both can happen in the relationship.


Prayer for Reflection

Sit with the 2nd Peter and think about a time you have heard the voice of God? What difference did it make?  Listen deeply to the story in the Matthew and reflect on what Juanita Rasmus pondered when she wrote “what if we remembered that others are watching the effect our praying has on our lives?” just as Peter witnessed the effect prayer had on Jesus? (2023 Upper Room Discipline, p. 66 )


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