“The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, ‘Put on your clothes and sandals.’And Peter did so. ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,’ the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.” Acts 12:6–10 (NIV84)
One can’t help but read the account of Peter’s release from prison and marvel at the awesomeness of God. When God says, “Nothing is impossible with me!” He means it. Under full guard and behind locked doors, God frees Peter from them all. Peter miraculously returns to the people who were earnestly praying for Him. Were they praying for His miraculous release? Probably not. They simply joined together in one mind and asked the Lord to act on behalf of Peter and the Church. And boy does God act. He responds to their prayer in such a specific way. He meets their need in a way that was beyond all that they could imagine. Imagine for a minute how encouraged the believers must have been at the sight of a miraculously freed Peter. All due to faithfulness of God to hear and answer the prayers of His people.
But we say to ourselves today, “Why doesn’t God answer prayers like this today?” or maybe “I have prayed about specific things and God hasn’t given me what I asked for.” What are my responses to questions like this raised by Christians today? My first response is that all over the world God is doing miraculous things in response to the prayers of His people. And like this moment with Peter, often God responds in a greater way than we could have imagined in our prayers. I personally have seen prayers answered for health, safety and conversion of those prayed for. I have witnessed tumors disappearing and accidents being avoided in the most miraculous ways. One of the things we need to understand is that God may not answer our prayer as specifically as we pray it. He may answer it in a different way, but He will indeed answer it, because He promised He would.
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s keep praying to the Lord our God who promises to answer our prayers, most often in a way more powerfully than we imagine.