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Peter was kept in prison, but the Church was earnestly praying Acts 12:5 (NIV) 

A reflection on Acts Chapter 12 verses 5-17

 

Have you ever found it hard to pray, when facing the harsh realities of life? At times like these, we can often find it hard to pray for ourselves; that's when it is comforting to know that there is someone who has taken the time to pray for you.

 

Herod having put James the brother of John to death with the sword, also arrested Peter. Herod threw him into prison intending to put him on trial, planning that he would also be killed.

 

You would perhaps imagine Peter to be frantically praying and weeping all night – but he wasn't, “Peter was fast asleep” (v6). Just amazing! Where do you get that kind of faith? i suspect it was because “...the Church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5 NIV)

   

Have you ever wondered how to sleep in the face of death, or experienced unnatural grace in the midst of chaos? Often, I find it is because of two things - (1) you have learned how to hand the situation over to God and (2) someone is praying for you.

   

While the church was praying for a breakthrough on Peter’s behalf, God was at work on the other side of the city, dispatching an angel to set Peter free. And that is how it works!

   

Do you feel as if your prayers are not being heard? I urge you to find someone who will agree with you in prayer. Jesus said “.... if two of you … agree about anything … it will be done for you by my Father in Heaven (Matthew 18:19)

   

After the Church prayed all night for Peter’s release from prison, he miraculously showed up at the door of the house where they were praying.

   

A young lady named Rhoda, heard the knock, ran to the door and recognised the voice of Peter. Being so overjoyed at the hearing of Peter’s voice she did not open the door, but ran immediately to the group as they were praying and exclaimed in excitement! it is Peter at the door. Their response was, child you are out of your mind, Peter is in prison. But Peter kept knocking, and when they finally opened the door, “Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet.” No doubt he did not want the neighbourhood to be alarmed by the noise of their excitement, and who, unwittingly might inform the authorities that something unusual was happening in the neighbourhood. I believe as Peter entered where they were praying, and shared his testimony of how God responded, by sending His angel to attend his release from prison, the prayer meeting entered a new level of hallelujahs and worship) (v17)

   

It is evident, that Herod the King had some belief in the power of God whom Peter served. To go to the extent that he did, to provide such a tight network of security to keep a mere civilian like Peter in prison, is a clear indication, and demonstration, of the fear he had over Peter’s escape from prison.

   

Not only was Peter guarded by four squads of soldiers (a company of four soldiers for each of the four watches of the night) but in addition to this, Peter was chained with two chains, and was sleeping between two soldiers. God through his angels put Herod’s soldiers to sleep while awaking His servant Peter from sleep and delivered him.

   

In summary, there are a number of important lessons to be learnt here.

   

(1) Do not just ask; expect! God will astonish you by:

   

a. His timing - “...before they call, I will answer …" (Isaiah 65:24)

   

b. His methods - “.... the Lord sent His angel and rescued me …" (Acts 12:11 NIV). Stop limiting God!

   

(2) Be alert: you might miss it. They were all praying, but only Rhoda responded to Peter’s knocking at the door. I encourage you to be more like Rhoda. be quick to respond to what God is doing too.

   

a. You will get a divine invitation that something is about to happen

   

b. You will begin looking for the answers while others are locked into a posture of praying, but not really expecting anything to happen

   

c. You will recognise the answer when others do not

   

d. You will be willing to leave the crowd in order to respond to God.

   

(3) Open the door. Listen “because of her gladness she did not open the door (Acts 12:14 NKJV). How often have you come home from Church moved but not changed?

   

(4) As grow older in your faith, always believe, and experience rejoicing, as you expect to receive all that God has for you.

   

Remember this (a) do not just ask, expect (b) be spiritually alert and (c) open the door.

 

 

Rev Elson Parris

EE GB Prayer Coordinator/Board Member

Published date: 13 April 2022

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and every age group to witness to every person.

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