As Christians we sometimes speak of Prayer in a blasé way. And sometimes we forget that Prayer can cause the impossible to occur.
In Acts 12, when Peter was locked up in prison so that King Herod could use him for his political advantage, it was noted:
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The earnest prayers of the church was the precursor to an amazing move of God.
An angel frees Peter from his chains. Easy, but he was chained between two guards and two others ‘stood’ guarding the door.
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.
Four squads of four soldiers to guard him. All four guards were awake. Why? This was important. A public trial and King Herod was personally involved. They dared not sleep upon severe punishment. And yet, miraculously, the angel escorted Peter out of the prison, past the awake guards, into freedom.
Interestingly, the first century church didn’t realise the power of earnest prayer either… they were most surprised when Peter appeared:
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.” 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.
Acts 12:12-16 (emphasis mine)
Every so often we too are astonished.
The answers to our prayers sometimes comes in ways we could never imagine and we are caught by surprise and even are caught thinking, “Wow! I never really thought that would happen!”
So should we be astonished?
Personally, I love it when God answers prayers in a way that astonishes me. It reminds me of His Sovereignty and His desire to delight His children.
But more importantly, it reminds me to pray more earnestly AND especially when gathered together with other believers – the church!