Friends, do you realize God has given us the power to alter the course of history through intercessory prayer? One of my favorite illustrations is the Biblical and slightly comical account of Peter’s rescue from imprisonment and pending execution during the Passover Celebration. (Acts 12)
The chance of escape was virtually impossible; Peter was under the guard of four squads of soldiers – shackled between two soldiers at all times, with two guards on watch outside the cell door. Before Paul gives us the details of Peter’s escape, he shares the most crucial part of the story,
“…while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.” (v. 5 NLT)
Peter’s miraculous escape from prison (Acts 12:6-19)
On the night of Peter’s divine rescue, a bright light appeared in the cell, and an angel awakened him, causing the chains to fall from his wrists. Peter thought it was a dream or a vision, but he complied with the angel’s command to get up quickly, get dressed, and follow. They passed two guard posts as they exited the prison before arriving at the iron gate leading to the city. Suddenly, it opened itself, allowing them to pass through without detection.
When the angel disappeared while they were walking down the street, Peter came to his senses, “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” He continued walking until he arrived at Mary, John Mark’s mother’s house, where many were praying for Peter. (vv.11-12)
I love this next part; it honestly makes me giggle when I envision the scene. A servant girl named Rhoda answered Peter’s knock at the door, but she was so stunned when she recognized his voice that she forgot to open the door! She ran back and exclaimed to all that Peter was standing at the door. “You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.” All this time, Peter is still standing at the door, knocking. When they finally opened the door, they were amazed to see that it was true. (vv. 15, 16)
Friends, the Bible is full of exciting and miraculous narratives that prove the earnest prayer of lovers of God, living in alignment with His will can significantly affect the outcome of events. May we never underestimate the power of sincere, intercessory prayer – our divine connection to the One who holds the world, and everything in it, in the palm of His hands.
The story doesn’t end there, but I’ll let you read the text to discover what happened to the King whose evil plans intersected with God’s justice for those who try to harm his children. (click here to read the remainder of Acts 12)
Sending peace, love, and prayers to all!