READING: Acts 11-12
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: The early church was praying for Peter’s release from a jail cell, especially when James had been put to death as a martyr. They prayed earnestly, in fact, and even gathered for the purpose of prayer (Acts 12:5, 12). God heard their prayers, and he sent an angel to unshackle Peter and lead him past the guard posts to the gate of the city — which promptly and supernaturally opened by itself. God had miraculously responded to the prayers of His people.
When Peter made his way to the place the church was meeting, though, they did not believe he had been truly freed. Peter knocked on the door of the house where they were gathered, and a servant girl recognized his voice. Excited by what she heard, she left Peter outside the door in the gateway to announce his presence to the church.
Their response? “You’re crazy!” they told her. Peter, however, kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astounded. (Acts 12:15-16)
They had prayed earnestly . . . but were astounded when God answered!
It would be so easy to condemn the early church if we weren’t so much like them. To pray fervently is easy when the battle is intense; but, to believe equally fervently isn’t always so easy. We sometimes say the right words without the right heart.
Be honest: what prayer are you praying today that you’re not sure God will ever answer — that will most astound you if God really does respond?
ACTION STEPS: In prayer, confess that faith struggle to God. Then, take note that God graciously sometimes answers our prayers even when He know we'll be astounded.
PRAYER: “God, like the father with the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9, I believe — but help my unbelief, especially about this one issue.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Acts 13-14