The car was traveling at a high rate of speed straight toward me in my lane. I considered shifting to the left lane, but what happens if he corrects to his lane?! I still would be in a head on collision. The car continued heading for me.
Then, I saw a road to my right – so I entered it and stopped as the vehicle blew past me still on my side of the road.
I sat there, trembling! After I calmed down somewhat, I drove home. The next day I drove that road again. I looked over to see the road I had pulled off onto the night before. There was no road! Wow! God had delivered me from sure death!
The church in Jerusalem was experiencing a very discouraging and unsafe time. King Herod discovered that he could gain popularity and support from the Jews by persecuting the Christians. So, he arrests Peter, assigns 16 soldiers to guard him and chains him between two of these soldiers. It appeared that for Peter there would be no escape, no reprieve. But… the church was praying.
“But earnest prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” (Acts 12:5)
The church is praying. God is working. This is a powerful picture of how God works through prayer.
As with my road to the right, an angel shows up, Peter is provided with a way of escape. His chains fall off and the prison doors opened. Peter follows the angel out of the prison and proceeds to the house of John Mark’s mother, Mary, where the people were “gathered together in prayer”! (vs12)
The early church didn’t have enough influence or prestige to get Peter out of prison, but they had enough power to pray him out. When God answered their “earnest prayers,” they did not believe it. Peter was now standing outside the door knocking! They did not know how powerful their prayers were, and neither do we!
When you pray – coincidences happen! When you don’t pray, they don’t happen.
When we feel helpless and don’t understand what is going on – We PRAY! We, in the church, have far more power than we know. There was a vital connection between the deliverance of Peter and the prayers of the church. God’s unseen hand was moved by prayer.
God delights to surprise us with answers that are beyond our level of expectation. When we finally realize what God did, we are amazed. As one person is quoted as saying,“While I was praying expecting very little, God already had done something great - so great that I had a hard time accepting the answer.”
I am not smart enough to fix things or maneuver through my circumstances without God’s influence, divine guidance and sometimes His intervention. Jesus assures us repeatedly in the Gospels that our prayers are heard and answered.
“I say unto you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them.” (Mark 11:24)
We need courage to be bold in our asking. Remember God answers all our prayers. His answer is often knocking at our door or a road to the right.