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Monday, August 17, 2009

Rhoda and the Gang

And when she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the front gate. Acts 12:14 (New American Standard Version)

A few times when I’ve prayed for something that didn’t come to pass someone has said to me, “Well, Ken, your faith just wasn’t strong enough.” Honestly, it used to torque my jaws when this was said but now I have to chuckle and refer them to the prayer meeting of Rhoda and the Gang. Peter had been put in prison by King Herod for preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A group of believers got together at the home of John Mark’s mom, Mary, to pray for Peter. During that prayer vigil an angel went into the prison and got Peter out of stir. Peter immediately set off down the dark streets to Mary’s house. When he knocked on the door a young woman named Rhoda answered and heard Peter’s voice and with joy ran to tell the others Peter was at the front door. Those great men and women of faith immediately told Rhoda she was out of her mind and it couldn’t be Peter! But to Peter’s credit he kept knocking until someone let him in. And the greatest part is when they opened the door and saw him they were amazed it was actually the guy they’d been praying for (Acts 12:16).

Now Peter could have just walked on home, gone to bed, and got in touch with the Brethren the following morning, but it is interesting the Lord led him to Mary’s house that night where a prayer meeting was going on for him. Those folks were praying but it is evident from their response to Rhoda they didn’t have much hope that God would answer their prayers. So where was the faith that got Peter out of the Big House? It is obvious the belief of those praying wasn’t very high yet there was indeed faith in all of them deciding to come together to pray.

Because God is Sovereign He chooses to act any way He sees fit even if it’s answering a prayer given in a rapid state of decay. Indeed He knows our makeup and that we are but dust (Psalm 103:14) yet the Bible is consistent in telling me and you how compassionately He loves us and that His loving kindness will last forever. With that Kindness and Might working for us and the ever present problems we face are we still uncertain God will act mightily on our behalf? Rhoda and the Gang didn’t seem to have much faith but there was faith in meeting together to pray about big issues and Peter facing possible execution was a big issue. There are many who use prayer as an excuse against involvement. Hey, I prayed about it, OK? And then they go on without offering to become part of the solution. The Lord calls those who will pray to do so and He will deal with those who use it to get around getting involved. The Lord commends us to fervent prayer for one another and even for our nation struggling to find peace that only Christ can impart. Rhoda and the Gang may have prayed without much faith but the results were noteworthy anyway. It broke Peter out of stir. If need be He can bust us out of stir too or even change and revive the heart of a nation.