12 About this time, King Herod arrested some people who belonged to the church. He planned to make them suffer greatly. 2 He had James killed with a sword. James was John’s brother. 3 Herod saw that the death of James pleased some Jews. So he arrested Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 After Herod arrested Peter, he put him in prison. Peter was placed under guard. He was watched by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put Peter on public trial. It would take place after the Passover Feast. 5 So Peter was kept in prison. But the church prayed hard to God for him. 6 It was the night before Herod was going to bring him to trial. Peter was sleeping between two soldiers. Two chains held him there. Lookouts stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared. A light shone in the prison cell. The angel struck Peter on his side. Peter woke up. “Quick!” the angel said. “Get up!” The chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” Peter did so. “Put on your coat,” the angel told him. “Follow me.” 9 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. 10 They passed the first and second guards. Then they came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself. They went through it. They walked the length of one street. Suddenly the angel left Peter. 11 Then Peter realized what had happened. He said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent his angel. He set me free from Herod’s power. He saved me from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” 12 When Peter understood what had happened, he went to Mary’s house. Mary was the mother of John Mark. Many people had gathered in her home. They were praying there. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance. A servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 She recognized Peter’s voice. She was so excited that she ran back without opening the door. “Peter is at the door!” she exclaimed. 15 “You’re out of your mind,” they said to her. But she kept telling them it was true. So they said, “It must be his angel.” 16 Peter kept on knocking. When they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet. He explained how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said. Then he went to another place. 18 In the morning the soldiers were bewildered. They couldn’t figure out what had happened to Peter. 19 So Herod had them look everywhere for Peter. But they didn’t find him. Then Herod questioned the guards closely. He ordered that they be put to death.
I think the key sentence in this story is “BUT the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” This sentence acts as the explanatory reason for the miraculous event that follows. God was very ready to work a miracle on behalf of Peter and the fledgling Church; however, he wanted that Church to participate in that miracle through prayer.
I am also encouraged that my faith need not be great. These Christians had faith to pray, but there expectations were low! When Jesus is released, according to their prayers, they do not believe it is possible!! Nevertheless, they prayed and received their request from God. They became partakers in the miracle God would do.
“Lord, we are nothing if we are not a praying Church. Make us a praying Church and make me a praying member”.
Written by Andrew Mellor