Bystander Effect Definition
A phenomenon where the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help an individual in distress.
Acts 12:1-19 (NIV)
It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.
He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.
When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.
Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.
Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.
Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door.
When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.
After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Herod’s Death Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.
King Herod persecuted and killed Christians for political reasons. The Christian movement was an opportunity for him to have favor from the Jewish people.
What is your prayer life like?
What do you pray about?
We seem to be more concerned with...
What we will eat, What we will wear, Financial and material goals, For parking spots to be open, To get jobs/raises, Broken marriages/Comfort for loved ones
What if God wants us to pray more?
What if God wants us to pray about something bigger? Praying dangerously - Kingdom aligned prayers
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
There's a saying that says, "Don't ask the question if you're not ready to hear the answer." A "search me" prayer is dangerous because when you ask God to search your heart he will!
If you want to be set free to follow Christ fully, then it's time to pray a "break me" prayer.
Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NIV)
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
When you get settled into a house, career, a growing family, or future plans, it's tempting to avoid dangerous "lead me" prayers that "unsettle" your life.
But that's where faith comes in. We need to believe God loves us and wants to lead our life down a better, more God-focused path that we could ever lead ourselves.
This prayer says, "God, I'm available if you'd like to do something great through me. I'm available if you'd like to touch another life through me." "Use me" prayers are powerful.
They create adventures. You never know what the result of these prayers will be, but they're worth the risk of praying, because when you ask God to use you, he will. And it's wonderful to be used by God.
"Praying these five dangerous prayers says you mean business with God. When you prayerfully and courageously move out of your comfort zone, your spiritual life will never be the same. 'Search me. Break me. Stretch me. Lead me. Use me." Pray these prayers and watch what God does."
Pray dangerously for others
We are surrounded by neighbors who are bound up/chained up by the things of this world.
We cannot convict or convince anyone. It is not our role, it's the Spirit's.
Our job is to pray. Not just pray but wholly lean into God. In prayer hearts are softened, chains are broken, strongholds are released, and people are drawn to Jesus.
John 16:8-13 (NLT)
And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.
Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more.
Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.
What is your prayer life like?
Do you pray dangerous prayers?