Text: Acts 12 (Joshua 13-14)
I recently heard it taught that every major move of the Holy Spirit in the life of the early church was deeply connected with prayer. In today’s reading in Acts we certainly see this. In Acts 10, Cornelius, the Roman centurion prays, sees a vision and is given instructions to send for Peter. At the same time, Peter has been in prayer, seen a vision, and is told that the door has been opened for him to visit a non-Jew, Cornelius. The Gospel breaks out of Jewish confines into the Gentile world. Prayer connects!
Later, Peter is imprisoned by Herod Agrippa I, presumably to martyr him as he had just done to James. The people gather for prayer (Acts 12:5). Their prayers were serious business – Peter was about to be killed! And, their prayers are answered, as an angel comes and breaks Peter out of jail. What comes next is both humorous and challenging. Peter comes to the house where God’s people are praying for his release. He knocks, and a servant girl named Rhoda comes to the gate. Here’s what happens next:
Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. (Acts 12:14-16)
After the chuckle this scene provokes, there is a most serious challenge: When we pray for big things – life or death things – do we believe the answer can be “Yes”? Do we believe the Lord might choose to do something miraculous? Or are we just going through the motions?
in Him, Mike