Acts 12:12 – Thinking about that, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
Acts 12:13 – When Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer.
Acts 12:14 – When she recognized Peter’s voice, she didn’t open the gate for joy, but ran in, and reported that Peter was standing in front of the gate.
Acts 12:15 – They said to her, “You are crazy!” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel.”
Acts 12:16 – But Peter continued knocking. When they had opened, they saw him, and were amazed.
The apostle Peter is in prison, and on death row by the hand of Herod. So the early church is praying hard out for him to be released and for God to intervene. There’s a bunch of things in this little passage about PRAYERS GETTING ANSWERED!
1) God was working on the answer to the prayer while they were still praying
The people didn’t know it – but while they were in their prayer meeting, God was at work in Peter’s prison cell. He’d already made it out while they were still praying! This demonstrates the power of prayer!
Last night I found about a stunning answer to prayer in a situation I’d been praying pretty hard for. It was such a reminder that we should continue to pray and never give up! The devil will do anything he can to try to get us to a place where we feel like prayer doesn’t count or isn’t powerful.
But not only that – the answers to our prayers are often taking place where we can’t even see them. The people were unaware that Peter was already walking free as they continued on in their prayer.
2) Can You Hear Your Miracle Knocking?
There would have been a bunch of church heavyweights at the prayer meeting – but it was the maid who heard the knock at the door. I’m sure that the prayer meeting would have been pretty noisy as all these people cried out and interceded. But in the midst of the noise we’re making about our troubles or issues – could it be that God has already released our answer and we don’t even know about it?
It reminds me of the story in 2 Kings 7 where the four lepers went out and discovered that God had routed the enemy of Israel, while everyone else was still stuck inside the city fearing for their life. Yesterday Paul Saunders spoke at The River about Jacob saying ‘God was in this place, and I didn’t even know it’.
I don’t think it was an accident that the maid noticed before the spiritual heavyweights… it’s because she would have been listening! Stay attuned to what is happening around you… God may have already answered your prayer!
3) Rejoice Before You See
The maid didn’t even see Peter’s face – she just heard his voice. That was enough for her – and leaving the poor apostle locked outside she runs back to the prayer meeting to bring the good news. Elijah didn’t see the rain, he just ‘heard the sound’, and saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand. That was enough for him!
Miracles will start to speak before they appear – things begin to change, a good report starts to come. Yet the maid didn’t open the door. The door speaks of our heart – sometimes when God starts to answer our prayers, we still don’t actually open our hearts. We leave them closed because we maybe we’ve been hurt before.
4) Don’t Be Surprised If People Think You’re A Fool
Every person who has been seriously used by God has gone through a process by which others thought they were a fool before God answered their prayer. This prayer meeting of the early church – the place where people are getting healed and miracles are happening all the time – called the maid crazy because she believed that the prayer they’d all been praying had been answered!
4) Expect Answers To Your Prayers
I think it’s very telling that this group of people were having a prayer meeting for something that they obviously didn’t believe was going to happen! In fact, they have more faith that it’s Peter’s angel than Peter got out of prison! And if it was Peter’s angel knocking on the door – why didn’t they go ahead and open up the door, rather than calling the maid crazy?!
5) God’s Answers Will Keep On Knocking
God knows that we’re not always the sharpest at picking up on when He’s doing something. Fortunately for us, He doesn’t just knock once – but keeps on knocking! He calls us to be persistent in prayer with Him, because He’s persistent with us!