|Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword.
There can be no mistake that Herod was solidly in the enemy's corner. The stakes are high and the targets are God's children.
When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people.
The might that evil shows when it flexes its muscles can be over-the-top intimidating. Four squads of soldiers for one non-violent man?
So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.
This. This right here, that's my favorite part. BUT prayer for him was being made to God. Fervent prayer by Peter's brothers and sisters in Christ. Is there anything more powerful? Someone is out there praying for you, just as you are lifting others in prayer. Prayer moves God.
On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.”
Did you see that? The Lord your God is not afraid to come right into the midst of your captivity and shine His light for all to see. You may feel surrounded, chained and held captive, but God has rescued you if you belong to Him. He will burst right onto the scene in your cell.
And his chains fell off his hands.
This is the part where I always have to pause in wonder. Selah.
And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”
Even the smallest detail is seen to by Your helper, Your comforter. If you are a child of God, the Spirit inside of you prepares you as Jesus prepares the way.
And he went out and continued to follow, and 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 second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”
Sometimes the Father's answers seem unreal, don't they? And always, looking back, the threads He weaves to form the tapestry of our lives blows my mind. He's the Unbelievable Believable. Stand in awe.
And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 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 in front of the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.” But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to James and the brethren.” Then he left and went to another place. - Acts 12:1-17
Never underestimate the power of your testimony! So many times people are praying fervently, and the way that God answers and His sense of timing serve to bolster the hope of others. Your witness reaffirms the power of prayer and the caring of our Father.