I have been reading the bible each morning. It so easy to find an excuse not to read the bible or not to exercise, and I am guilty on both counts. After I battle all the excuses, and exercise, I feel great for the rest of the day. I have more energy and a positive outlook for the day. When I start my day reading the bible, I feel at peace all day. The worries and anxiety fade away and my heart has peace. It helps so much to pray my worries away.
Prayer has been our link to God for a long time. In biblical times, there are many verses about praying. In the new Testament, in Acts, praying resulted in a miraculous escape from prison. “King Herod arrested some who belong to the church, intending to prosecute them.” Peter was arrested and put into prison. “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” God answers prayers. Even the disciples needed prayers, so I can only imagine how much I need prayers each day.
Peter was in prison, and the church prayed for him. God answered their prayers by sending an angel to set Peter free. “The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, 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.”
Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison
It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 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.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, 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 12:1-7 (NIV)
It is quite miraculous that the Lord sent an angel to get Peter. The guards could not stop the Lord. God broke the chains that bound Peter in prison, and the angel led him out to the street. Do you feel like you are in prison and you need your chains broken to set you free? I have felt like I was a prisoner to stress and anxiety, and I find that prayer sets me free. I can pray my worries away, if I commit to spending time reading the bible and seeking the Lord. This passage is speaking me, because I need to break free from other bad habits holding me prisoner and chaining me down.
When we pray, God will think of everything. God is a loving father, who wants to take care of us. Peter was in a trance, and the angel reminded him to put on his clothes, shoes and jacket before going outside, just like a loving parent would remind a sleepy child.
Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
–Acts 12:8-11 (NIV)
When God answered the prayers for Peter, he gave all the glory to God. “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me.” I often pray for something over and over and when my prayer is answered, I find something else that I need to pray about. I don’t always remember to stop and say, “Thank you, God. You answered my prayer. God, you are so good to me.” God protects us and answers us, when we cry for help.
Peter thanks the Lord from rescuing him from “Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen”. It sounds like his friends and neighbors did not want the best for him, but God rescued him regardless of what the world wanted for him. When I went through a very hard time, the phone did not ring very often. It felt like family, friends and neighbors wanted to see my family fail. But, God had better plans for us. God rescued us and moved us to place better than we could have imagined. When others are not supporting us, we can feel a heavy burden. God can take that burden away. If we trust in God, we can move fearlessly forward in life knowing that God is going to protect us against all obstacles.
Once Peter praises the Lord for sending an angel to help him break out of prison, he realizes that he needs to go somewhere safe. He cannot just stand in the street. He goes to the house of Mary, where they are praying. A servant sees Peter at the door. She is so “overjoyed” at this answered prayer, she forgets to open the door. She tells the others, “Peter is at the door!” Nobody believed her, and finally they said it must be his angel. When they finally heard the continued knocking, they opened the door. They were “astonished” to see the answer to their prayers standing at the front door.
When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.
–Acts 12:12-18 (NIV)
God answers prayers. The servant, Rhoda, was “overjoyed” to see Peter. They had been praying, and when she saw Peter, she knew the prayers were answered. She had faith and joy. The others told her she “was out of her mind”. They didn’t believe that the Lord answered their prayers, until they finally opened the door and saw Peter. They were “astonished”. They were greatly amazed and surprised that the Lord answered their prayers. Once again, the Lord uses the unexpected person to show us that the glory goes to the Lord. It clearly says Rhoda is a servant, and she is “overjoyed” to see Peter. She is extremely happy, She believes right away that God answered their prayers.
Where do we fall in our reactions to prayers? Do we run happily forward exclaiming, “The Lord rescued me!”. Or, do we pray, not really thinking it will happen? I pray, sometimes not knowing how this could possibly change. Maybe, I even doubt that my prayer will be answered. Its too big for me to grasp how my problem can be solved. If the Lord can break Peter out of chains, remind him to wear warm clothes, while guards are surrounding him, and led him safely out of a prison, the Lord can answer our prayers. It may be too big for us, but its not too big for the Lord.