Acts 12 recounts one of several instances in which Peter was miraculously delivered from prison. In the middle of the night, an angel appeared to Peter, freed him from his chains, and led him out into the city. Peter thought that it was all a dream, but when the angel left him and he found himself standing alone in the middle of a street, then he knew for sure that God had sent His angel to deliver him. Verse 5 of this chapter says that while Peter was kept in prison, prayer was made without ceasing by other Christian believers unto God for him. One of the places where prayer was being made for him was at the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. Verse 12 reads:
And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
To read about another woman who makes an appearance in this Scripture passage, see Rhoda; but first, here’s what we can learn from Mary, mother of John Mark.
1. The house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, was a house of prayer. God said that His house, meaning His church, was to be a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17). Even above worship, praise, tithing, and other spiritual things, God wants His house to be one of prayer. God works in our lives and He works in the lives of others when we engage in prayer to Him. God had the power to deliver Peter from prison, but His power was only activated when Christian believers started to pray and continued in prayer for Peter’s deliverance.
Jim Cymbala said, “Does the Bible ever say anywhere from Genesis to Revelation, ‘My house shall be called a house of preaching’? Does it ever say, ‘My house shall be called a house of music’? Of course not. The Bible does say, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’. Preaching, music, the reading of the Word – these things are fine; I believe in and practice all of them. But they must never override prayer as the defining mark of God’s dwelling. The honest truth is that I have seen God do more in people’s lives during ten minutes of real prayer than in ten of my sermons.” God wants His house to be one of prayer because there is power in communicating with Him in faith believing. Where there is prayer, there is peace and power.
Although God intends for His house to be one of prayer, we do not have to wait until we are in a church to pray. A church building is not needed for us to talk with God. Indeed, we are the house of God, the temple of God; we are the church. God does not dwell in any church building. He dwells in the hearts of all those who believe in Him. Therefore, we can pray to Him wherever we are and wherever we go. Our personal houses can be houses of prayer. Just as many were gathered together praying in the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, we can gather our friends and family members to pray together in our houses. We can also pray alone. God has the power to do impossible things in our lives, but He is waiting for us to ask for and activate His power through power.