By Elizabeth Prata
Herod had arrested Peter. He was chained between two soldiers inside his cell, and guarded by a rotating squadron of soldiers at the door of his cell. When the Passover concluded that night, he was due for sentencing.
Meanwhile, “Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.” (Acts 12:5). The word fervently here means stretched to the limit, completely taut (like a stretched out muscle), or full potential. Fervently means these church folks were praying with all they had to the bottom of their soul.
Back at the prison, note that Peter was sleeping and so were the guards. So, this was the middle of the night, maybe 2:00 in the morning. An angel appeared inside the prison cell, shining his light all over, and Peter did not wake up. The angel had to smack him to wake him up. (Acts 12:7).
So the people back at the house, praying for Peter, were likely doing so in shifts. As bunches of people were able, they went to the house of Mary, mother of John Mark, they stayed and prayed. Some would leave, more would come. It’s amazing that there was a house full of people praying for Peter at the wee hours of the morning!
They were praying for his release. Imagine the wails and petitions and beseechings. “O Lord, we need Peter, our pastor. Please miraculously release him from jail!” “Please bring Peter back to us!” We beg you Lord, his sentencing is due today!” “Please, nothing is too hard for you!”
The angel appears, chains miraculously fall off. Walls open. Gates open. No one awakens nor sounds an alarm. No one sees Peter walking along the street to Mary’s house. The angel disappears, and then Peter knocks at the door to John Mark’s mom’s house.
Rhoda is so startled with joy, she slams the door in Peter’s face, leaving him outside! That is funny, but it’s not the funniest part. Rhoda goes into the living room, and announces that Peter has been released! He is here! What was the prayer group’s reply?
They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They said, “It is his angel.” (Acts 12:14-15).
Not only did they tell Rhoda she was crazy, they tried to come up with other reasons she thought it was Peter at the door!
- Please Lord, release Peter!
- Yay! Peter’s here!
- Nah, can’t be! Let’s get back to praying. Lord, please release Peter!
LOL that is hilarious. How often do WE pray, asking the Lord for something. And when it arrives, or happens, or comes true, we look for any other reason it came true, except God! LOL, we are silly humans. Remember James 5:13-15,
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, [a]anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A [d]prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much.
And Matthew 21:22- “And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.”
And 1 John 3:22, and we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight.
Do you really pray when you pray?