My children and I were reading Acts 12. In this chapter we read that Herod put Peter in prison and had him guarded by 16 soldiers, with two soldiers stationed right by him for extra security. On top of that – Peter was chained, there were keepers at the door, and his prison cell was deep in the prison – past two wards and beyond a locked iron gate at the street. And Herod’s next plan for Peter? – to have him killed.
What was the church doing about this? They were praying – without ceasing. And here are the results:
Peter slept peacefully between the two soldiers as he was waiting to be brought out for his execution. So peacefully that the angel sent to release Peter from prison had to give him a good nudge to wake him up.
His chains fell off of him.
He left the prison cell without notice or danger.
Does that leave you in wonder of God? It does me.
Then we read of the reaction of the church who had been praying without ceasing. It was one of unbelief for almost all of them, except for a young girl named Rhoda. Wouldn’t you have liked to have known this young girl, who in her excitement at seeing Peter, left him knocking at the gate where the church was meeting for prayer? When this young believer kept on insisting that Peter was really at the gate, the others called her crazy. And when her praying companions finally saw Peter, they were astonished.
Hmmm. This made me think about several things.
1. Pray big prayers and believe that God can do big answers
2. Even when we pray and don’t quite believe that God can do big things, sometimes He does them anyway.
3. God is gracious to us even when we pray without confidence in Him being able to do big things.
4. Pray without ceasing (when I go to bed at night, I want to be able to say that I prayed my way through the day).
5. Pray for the church.
6. God is good.
7. Fellowship with Him in prayer is sweet.
8. In our prayers, seek first the kingdom.
Here is a good quote from Calvin:
“However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.”
And then: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6, 7