I read the story about how Peter was put in jail by Herod, and then how the Christians prayed for Peter. The background was that James, the brother of John, was just killed by Herod, so these folks were praying mightily.
And then, of course, the miracle happened. God answered their prayers and Peter was miraculously freed from prison by an angel and walked to the house of the folks that were praying for him. He knocked on the door, as they were praying for him, and the girl answering the door was so shocked that she left the door locked, and Peter outside(!) as she ran to tell the fellow believers that Peter was outside—-no longer in jail.
But the people praying for his deliverance could not believe it and told the girl she was crazy. It’s reassuring to know that even the early Christians had moments when they were spiritually dull. They prayed for Peter’s deliverance, Peter was delivered, and they could not believe that their prayers were effective! Why am I also so slow to believe, trust and understand, when, just like these early believers, I have seen God do the impossible many times before!
Peter would one day be arrested, and tradition tells us, crucified up-side down, regardless of those prayers that were being lifted for his deliverance. There are times when God does answer “no” to our requests—-just as He answered “no” to His own Son’s request that “this cup pass”. But there are far more times when He answers in the affirmative and our lives are blessed beyond expectations.
I have learned to never pray for what I deserve, or to wallow in self-pity before God about what I think I don’t deserve. Peter and Paul certainly never did this. They were resolved to allow Him to have His perfect will in their lives—-even if it meant jail, banishment or martyrdom. I talk about being abandoned to Him, but it’s surprising how quickly I squeal when things get difficult or He fails to answer my in the time and means I think most efficient!
Peter was delivered, I believe, because the people prayed for him. God heard their prayers and it pleased God to answer their prayers. There is power in the prayers of men and women who believe that He hears and that He is pleased with the petition.
Readers of this blog, please pray for our camp this summer. Pray for our enrollment, our staff, our deliverance from some considerable hardships and our protection. He is certainly able to answer your prayers—-and I believe that your prayers would be pleasing to Him. There are some things that only happen when others intercede for you in prayer.
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