"Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." Acts 12:5
The prayer that gets answered is the type of prayer that was made for Peter while he was in prison "delivered to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him". Acts 12:4
The whole secret of prevailing prayer is found in four phrases:
The prayer that gets what it asks is the prayer that is unto God. There are a lot of prayers today that are truly not unto God. When we pray and are thinking more about what we are asking for than for the great God who made Heaven and earth, who has all power, then our prayers are not really unto God. We take the name of God upon our lips, but there is no real conscious approach to God in our hearts. We are really taking His name in vain while we think we are praying to Him.
If there is to be any power in our prayer, if our prayer is to be effective, the first thing to be certain of when we pray is that we have really come into the presence of God, and are really speaking to Him. We should never utter one syllable of prayer either in public or in private until we are definitely conscious we have come into the presence of God and are actually praying to Him.
Real prayer means coming into God's presence and praising Him, thanking Him, worshiping Him, and asking for things and receiving them from Him. One of the offices of the Holy Spirit is to introduce us to God and to lead us into His presence. It is the Holy Spirit that makes God real to us, and when we get down on our knees we must look to the Holy Spirit to bring us into God's presence. We are to ask and quietly wait for the Holy Spirit to fulfill His promise to us.
The prayer was made by the church for Peter was a constant prayer, the Bible says, "without ceasing". This prayer was not a casual prayer, it was a prayer where all of their heart was applied to it; they were earnest in their praying. Their whole soul was stretched out for their dear friend who was in prison about to lose his life. We should pray continually and earnestly until something happens as the church did for Peter.
Of the Church
One of the prayers that God delights in and the prayer that gets answered is united prayer. God does answer the prayer of individuals and He has done some great things through individual prayer warriors. However, The Bible says in Matthew 18:19-20, "...That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." God promises if we unite in prayer and our hearts are united as one heart, He will answer.
When we pray our prayers must be specific. The church was praying specifically for Peter and his deliverance. His name and need was brought to God's attention, and God answered that prayer for the specific person that was presented and met the need that was petitioned. Too often our prayers are vague and general. We may mention a name, and even our family members who may be in dire need of deliverance, yet we only ask the Lord to be with them today. One of my favorite stories in the Bible that teaches the principle of being specific is found in Mark 10:46-52, it is the story of blind Bartimaeus. Everyone knew he was blind and so did Jesus. When he saw Jesus he cried out to Him "Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me (vs. 47-48). Now Jesus knew exactly what his need was, but He asked Bartimaeus a very enlightening question in vs. 51, "...What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" And his reply was this, "Lord, that I might receive my sight." You see, Jesus addressed the specific individual and requested Bartimaeus to voice his "specific need". There was no generalization, he wanted to see! And this specific prayer was answered in vs. 52, "And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way."
There is power in prayer, and God answers the prayers of His saints. When you pray, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into God's presence, and be specific and earnest in your prayer, praying without ceasing until something happens.