Prayers Answered – Oh We of Little Faith!

An interesting cartoon shows a fourth-grade boy standing toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose with his teacher. Behind them is a blackboard covered with math problems the boy hasn’t finished. With rare perception the boy says, “I’m not an underachiever, you’re an o … More

Expectation

The story in this passage would be comical if it were not so true to life. So frequently the prayer life of God’s people consists of formal words and speech and a total lack of expectation. Great precautions had been taken to see that Peter did not escape. He was guarded by four squads of soldiers. A squad consisted of four soldiers. There were four such squads, because the day and the night were divided into four watches each, of three hours duration; and each squad was on duty for three hours at a time. Normally a prisoner was chained by his right hand to his guard’s left hand; but Peter was chained by both hands to a guard on each side of him. Precautions could not have been better. When Peter escaped the soldiers were led away to execution, because it was the law that, if a criminal escaped, his guard should suffer the penalty the prisoner would have suffered.

As soon as Peter was released from jail, the angel vanished, as his work was done. It was now up to Peter to trust the Lord and follow Him each step. His first thought was to go to the home of John Mark where he knew the believers would be gathered (v. 12). This was probably the principal meeting place of the church in that day. At that very moment the church was praying that God would deliver Peter from prison before his planned execution. When Peter knocked at the door, Rhoda, one of the maids, came to the door and asked who was there (v. 13). When Peter said it was he, she could not believe it.  Finally he was able to convince her, and she was so excited she failed to open the door and let him in, but ran to tell the others (v. 14).

When Rhoda told the people Peter was outside, they told her to be quiet and not make jokes like that (v. 15).  Keep in mind that these people had been praying earnestly, night and day, for perhaps as long as a week. God could get Peter out of jail, but Peter now could not get himself into a prayer meeting. As he kept knocking, they finally realized it was really Peter and let him in (vv. 16-17).

Application

How many times do I ask God for things, but would be shocked if He were to answer? Is it because I don’t expect God to do the things I pray for?

Acts 12:12-17 (English Standard Version)

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, "You are out of your mind." But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, "It is his angel!" But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Tell these things to James and to the brothers." Then he departed and went to another place.

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