Today’s Scripture: Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. Acts 12:5
Herod Agrippa was determined that this time Peter would die. Chained between two soldiers, behind thick prison walls, Peter was kept under heavy lock and key. Despite being bound and surrounded by the stench of a hot, grimy prison filled with rats, Peter fell sound asleep the night before his execution. He knew many people were praying for him. In Acts 12:5, we see that “but prayer” is actually the pivotal point in this story. Peter had come to a place in his life of fully trusting the Lord—even the light caused by the appearance of an angel did not awaken him. In fact, the angel God sent had to whack him on the side in order to wake him. The chains fell from Peter’s hands as he was commanded to put on his shoes.
The massive iron gates opened for Peter, and he made his way through the dark streets to Mark’s mother’s house and knocked on the door. Rhoda, the little servant girl, answered but was so shocked that God had answered their prayers and got so excited that she forgot to let Peter in. She exclaimed to everyone gathered there that Peter was at the door. In disbelief, they said she was crazy. Peter probably stood there praying that he wouldn’t get re-arrested while he waited for everyone to come to their senses. After much prodding, everyone came to the door and were astonished. The lack of faith of those believers had probably rubbed off a little on Rhoda. They had gathered to pray but did not seem to really believe God was going to answer their prayers. It was obvious that they thought God was capable of doing great things, just not in their case.
Do you ever feel like you are having a “Rhoda” moment when you would rather be having a “Peter” moment? Maybe you’ve been praying for the Lord to take care of you financially, but it’s been so long without an answer that you have lost hope. Perhaps in attempting to serve the Lord, you’ve made some well-intentioned mistakes and feel like all you do is make one blunder after another. Friend, mistakes happen, and we don’t always exhibit as much faith as we should. Especially during life’s hardest moments, we must recognize that prayer is the pivotal point. Although God’s answer sometimes is, “wait.” We must have faith and remember that prayer truly does change things. Remember, ‘The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but prayer fetched the angel.’ God didn’t care how thick the walls were, how long the chains were, or how heavy the locks were because prayer is greater than all men’s power and might.
Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.