Takeaway Verse: Acts 12:5
But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
Welcome to The Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica Parkerson. This is the place where we meet up to read half a chapter of God’s word together and remember how loved we are. Jesus extends an amazing invitation to us in the Bible. He says, “Come to me and I WILL give you rest.” This is us RSVPing: Yes!! to that invitation. So take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
Today’s episode is called, “Prayer Opens Doors”. Before we dive into Acts chapter 12, would you join me in a word of prayer? Oh, Father, we come to you in the mighty name of your son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the matchless name of Jesus. Thank you for saving us from our sins, from death, hell, and the grave. But Lord, thank you for saving us from the daily anxieties and stresses that just press on us as we walk through our day. Would you just be with us, extra close in these moments as we open your word. Open our eyes and hearts to what you want us to see and understand today in Acts chapter 12, we ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Oh, I’m so glad you’re here, here we go. This is one of the best stories in the Bible. This is when God springs Peter from prison! Acts chapter 12, here we go. “About that time, King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the Apostle James, John’s brother, killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. This took place during the Passover celebration. Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.” That’s a lot of soldiers. “Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover.”
Now, here comes our takeaway verse, verse five, “But while Peter was in prison, The church prayed very earnestly for him. The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers.” Think about that, he was well guarded. “Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, ‘Quick get up!’ And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, ‘Get dressed and put on your sandals.’ And he did. ‘Now, put on your coat and follow me.’ the angel ordered.” Simple orders, right? Like he’s just getting Peter to listen to him. “So Peter left the cell following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision.” I think that’s why the angel was walking him through things. “He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard post and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.” Work was done. “Peter finally came to his senses. ‘It’s really true!’ He said, ‘The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!’
“When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, ‘Peter is standing at the door!’
“‘You’re out of your mind!’ They said. When she insisted, they decided, ‘It must be his angel.’ Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. ‘Tell James at the other brothers what happened,’ he said. And then he went to another place. At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter. Herod Agrippa ordered a search, a thorough search for him. When he couldn’t be found, Herod, interrogated the guards, and sentenced them to death.” That’s really sad. “Afterward, Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.
“Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they sent a delegation to make peace with him because their cities were dependent upon Herod’s country for food. The delegates won the support of Blastus, Herod’s personal assistant, and an appointment with Herod was granted. When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. The people gave him a a great ovation shouting,’ It is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ Instantly an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.” Wow. “Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread and there were many new believers. When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission to Jerusalem, they returned taking John Mark with them.”
Prayer opened the doors of the prison for Peter. The angel actually did it, but I believe it was prayer that fetched the angel. I wanna tell you a more modern story about prayer that’s also true. There was once a professor, a doctor from Wheaton College who took some students on a field trip to the place where John Wesley lived, and studied, and prayed. As a matter of fact, there were impressions on the floor beside john Wesley’s bed. He was such a wonderful man of God, he prayed so often that he left impressions on the floor. And so when it was time to leave, the doctor counted everybody on the bus and noticed that somebody was missing. So he went back into John Wesley’s house and found a young man, a student, kneeling in the place where John Wesley had knelt so many times and he was praying for revival and he was saying, “Lord, use me.” And the doctor from Wheaton College tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Billy, we gotta go.” And it was the Reverend Billy Graham. And if you have the good chills, I do too. God answered that prayer in spades, didn’t he? He hears your prayer too. Know that and also know you are loved.
Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts that will recharge you at onpurposely.com.