Peter had just been arrested for preaching the gospel, so a small band of believers gathered to pray for him. Their prayers weren’t mere lip service either. They were “earnestly praying” (Acts 12:5). Yet after an angel miraculously led Peter to freedom and he arrived at the house where they were interceding, he was met with an unexpected response. The servant girl, Rhoda, was so excited when she recognized Peter’s voice that she ran to tell the others without even opening the door! And how did they respond to the miracle? Did they exclaim, “Praise God who has answered our prayer?”
Afraid not. Their words were far from a resounding affirmation of faith. They said to the servant girl, “You’re out of your mind.” And when they finally opened the door and Peter stood there in front of them, these earnest pray-ers were “astonished.” You can read the whole story in Acts 12:6-16.
Sometimes my reaction to answered prayer runs along the same line. I’m surprised when the Lord comes through. Oh me of little faith (Matthew 14:31). Other times I ask, but I don’t even recognize the answer when it comes. If I’m not careful, my prayers can turn into a matter of form — a perfunctory ritual. I rattle off my concerns without really considering that my prayers could be making a difference.
How about you? Do you ever let your thinking interfere with the limitless possibilities of God? Maybe sometimes it takes getting out of our minds to get into the mind of Christ and pray with the power of faith.
Lord, teach us to pray in the way you call us to pray — in ways that make a difference not only in our own lives, but in the world around us. Amen.
Go deeper — Carefully consider your prayer life. Ask yourself whether or not your prayers are a matter of ritual or of power. Then reaffirm your faith in the God of the impossible. Need help with prayer? Read Effective Prayer.
Photo Credit: Nick Tong