In the midst of a drought, your church organizes a prayer meeting to pray for rain. When you go to pray, do you take an umbrella? Story is told of one congregation that did that, and only the pastor showed up with the umbrella. He sent everyone home to come back the next night, umbrella equipped, ready to pray.
In Acts 12, Peter has been arrested and along the lines of the story is waiting execution. The church prays. We are not told exactly what they pray, but safe to say, it’s for his release. James has already been killed. Herod had gotten a good response for that action, so he follows up with Peter’s arrest.
Then as the church prays, God acts. An angel comes, Peter’s set free. He comes to the house where the prayer meeting is. He knocks on the door. A servant named Rhoda is so excited to see Peter, she doesn’t let him in. She does let the “prayer warriors” know God has answered their prayer.
Good Hollywood ending, would have they all lived happily ever after. Instead their response is, “You’re crazy.” (Acts 12:15). I find great comfort that God’s grace is greater then my prayer faith, and that He acts according to His will, not my will. I also find it comforting I am not the only Christ follower to underestimate His answers to my prayers.
Over the years, I have learned prayer is not for changing God’s mind, but for transforming our lives. Would you really want God to do everything you ever prayed for? In the words of that great theologian Garth Brooks, “Thank God for unanswered prayer.” Thank Him for the answered one as well. No is an answer, not a popular answer, but often the best one. Even better a Yes from God typically trumps the yes I was seeking.
God is a master of working on His time, not mine. When life drives me crazy, prayer drives me to Him. Prayer in faith is important, seeking God’s will is essential. Whatever you face today, keep on praying. He’s already working the answer. His love and grace never let go, His mercy and kindness are new every morning.
What prayers lessons is God teaching you these days? How are those lessons affirming your own belief in the power of prayer?