Prayers and Jerusalem Jails
Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
The Lord performs an amazing prison break in Acts chapter 12. Peter gets freed by an angel of the Lord and the first thing he does is to go find his friends who have been praying for his release. The scripture reads more like a scene from a sitcom than a mind boggling answer to prayer from Jerusalem Jail! Here is Peter, who has been miraculously released from his bonds. He is now left twiddling his thumbs by the doormat. A living, breathing, answer to prayer - who could be reclaimed at any moment - is left in limbo, while those who are praying for his deliverance are engaged in a theological debate as to whether God could have answered their intercession!
The Church community has in one way displayed wondrous faith, praying passionately in the face of Peter’s likely death. In another way, they have displayed wondrous uncertainty when presented with victory through their prayers. Thankfully, Peter kept on knocking.
Thankfully, the Lord keeps knocking on the door of our lives as well. We are this mixed tapestry of faith and doubt, hope and despair, optimist and cynic. God, may we continue to persist in prayer even through the door of our doubts. God, may we continue to ask for the gift of faith knowing that You are the God who sets prisoners free. May we fully live into this prayerful benediction today!
Now unto him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.