When you pray, do you expect God to answer your prayers? Do you pray for miracles? Moreover, do you expect to see Him answer with a miracle? For the longest time, I didn’t fully believe God would really answer my prayers. I prayed, but I didn’t open my heart to believe He still worked miracles. Maybe that’s why prayer was usually my last resort, instead of my first response…
Let fervent prayer be our first response when in need.
Let’s look together at the last featured story of Peter in the Bible. This is the story of his miraculous release from prison in Acts 12. Read through this passage in Acts 12:1-19 or watch it below on this video from “The Visual Bible: Acts” (the story begins at 3:54 in the clip):
We see in this passage that danger is becoming all too real for the believers. James, the brother of John, is arrested and killed. Herod saw this pleased the Jews so much, he next arrested Peter, intending to bring him to the same fate. Peter was held in prison for a few days because Herod didn’t want to execute him in the middle of Passover celebrations. The whole time Peter was in prison, the church was earnestly, fervently praying for him.
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. (Acts 12:4-5 NIV)
Pray boldly. Believe in prayer. Expect God’s miracles.
What were they praying for? Do you think they were so bold as to pray for miracles, for something so bold as Peter to be released from prison? Or, were they simply praying for his soul as he faced execution?
Be bold in your prayers, pray for miracles! Then, believe those miracles can actually happen! You may not get the miracle you’re imagining, so don’t lose heart if God doesn’t answer just as you’ve asked. Maybe instead of healing the person you’re praying for, He heals you?
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. (Acts 12:6-7 NIV)
Peter was released from prison by an angel, who released his shackles and led him past guards and iron gates. By the time Peter realized what was happening (and that he wasn’t dreaming), he was in the streets of Jerusalem, unshackled and beyond the prison gates. He immediately ran to the house where the believers were praying to let them know he was out of prison, but going underground for a while.
Whatever the believers were praying, they were shocked with God’s response. They didn’t believe Peter was really at the door. I love the scene with Rhoda (Acts 12:13-17). She leaves Peter outside knocking on the door while she runs to tell the others. No one believes her that Peter is really there, until Peter’s knocking becomes so persistent they can’t ignore him. They weren’t expecting a miracle like this, but oh, how thankful they were!
Ask God for deliverance from what imprisons you.
God delivered Peter from prison, effortlessly removing shackles, opening locked gates and walking Peter past numerous armed guards. What is your prison, what are your shackles? Are you imprisoned by fear and worry? Locked behind gates trying to keep life as it always was and not moving forward into inevitable change? Guarded by your own demons, such as insecurity, guilt, addiction, loneliness, anger, jealously?
Ask God for deliverance from what imprisons you! Pray for miracles. Ask Him to remove your shackles, unlock the gates and lead you away from the guards. Ask Him to free you, so you can walk more confidently toward a better future, a better change, with more hope, less worry.
Read this passage for yourself: Acts 12:1-19
Reflect on the questions below:
- What does this passage tell you about God?
- How does this passage speak to you?
- What prison are you in today? Will you ask God for deliverance?
If you want to dig deeper into the life and lessons of Peter, I highly recommend two books:
“A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter”, by Michael Card and “The Fisherman: A Novel”, by Larry Huntsperger
This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview