Prayer Overcomes Bondage

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place. Acts 12:1-17.

John’s brother, James , is killed, but Peter is miraculously delivered. The only thing that we know is different is that the church had time to pray for Peter. He could have been killed right away, but Herod wanted to make a show of it and took some extra time to prepare a presentation. This gave the believers time to intercede with earnest corporate prayer. And their prayers were answered! And it happened so effectively that when Peter showed up, recently sprung from prison by an angel, they did not believe it.

This was a church that was used to seeing the miraculous, seeing the lame walk and the dead rise. And even though that was so, there were obviously some who did not believe when the answer came. Or maybe they just didn’t believe that silly servant girl, Rhoda. Nevertheless, there were obviously some among them who were able to move mountains in the heavenly realm and send angels on assignments.

Our God is not the god of “way back then.” He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. And we are the Body of Christ, who died for the sin of the world, was raised on the third day, and who said we can ask whatever we will, and it will be done if we believe and do not doubt.