Each time I read Acts chapter 12, I realize the importance of prayer and how God has a plan for each believer. The Bible tells us and history confirms it. King Herod arrested the Apostle Peter, put him in jail and was going to execute him after Passover.

Acts 12:1–4 “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.”

Peter was placed in maximum security, guarded by 16 soldiers. The purpose was to deny that Christ was the Son of God. Peter was the Jews number one target. Not only was he preaching about Christ, he was associating with Gentiles. He also was telling them they did not need to be circumcised. They made absolutely sure that he could not escape.

Acts 12:5–10 “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.”

When Peter entered prison, the church went to its knees and prayed without ceasing according to Luke. Luke describes the prayers as intense. Having been a board member of churches, I have seen many supernatural answers to prayer. You may believe it was God’s plan for Peter to be rescued and it would have happened even if no one prayed. I have seen impossible solutions to problems answered, once the church intensely began praying.

The order for Peter’s execution had been signed. Peter was to die the next day. What was Peter doing: he was sleeping? We often do not realize the power of the Holy Spirit within us, to give us faith, peace and calmness. Peter knew no matter what happen, Christ was with him. If it was his time—so be it. He realized heaven was a better place. Do we have this kind of faith? No matter what happens, will we calmly be at peace with whatever the future holds?

After studying my Bible, teaching Bible classes for years and as I have grown spiritually, I have developed more courage, a positive attitude and became more merciful toward others. Peter knew that no matter what happened, God knew what was taking place.

It took a slap in the face to wake Peter as he was in a deep sleep. A light came on and the chains fell off of Peter. He was told by an angel to get up and get dressed. Peter followed the angel out of the prison not knowing whether he was in a dream or if it was for real. Suddenly, the gate swung open and out they walked into the night. The angel left and he was alone. Peter was given no instructions as to what to do. The angel did what he was to do and his job was to answer the prayers of those praying.

The Jewish people were eagerly looking forward to the execution of Peter. However, a prayer meeting was taking place in Mary’s home praying that Peter would be spared. When their prayers were answered, they refused to believe it. Does this sound like the response some Christians would have today? When they did see Peter they thought it was his ghost because it was impossible that God would answer their prayers and Peter would be freed.

The next day, King Herod sent for Peter. A search was made and he could not be found. A man cannot simply vanish from a maximum security prison and disappear leaving no trace. Herod was furious for having lost face with the Jews. As a result, he had the 16 soldiers executed.

Do you believe God can do and does supernatural things in your life? Do you pray expecting the impossible to happen? God has allowed me to see so many supernatural events take place that I look for them every day. When I am on the freeway and I come close to having a wreck, I thank God for His intervention. When I am told I have a ten percent chance of surviving an operation, I relied on God to heal me. I am convinced that Christ and the Holy Spirit, as with Peter, were with me and my ministry was not completed and my life was prolonged.

I hope you have the faith to trust that God will intervene in the life of a believer. I hope that you trust God to answer your prayers. No matter what happens to a believer, God either allows it to happen or he stops it from happening. The Apostle Paul told us, it was much better going to heaven than staying on this earth. Many times death is a blessing to the one who dies but, a mournful and tearful time for those who remain. There will be a time when believers will live forever in eternity and death and bad things will never occur.

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