What would you do if God answered your biggest, most outrageous prayer request?
In Acts 12, Luke tells the story of Herod, fresh off of executing James (John’s brother) threw Peter in prison.
Why? To score some points with the Jews in Jerusalem who had little love for the Christians.
As Peter was put into the prison, bound by chains, and guarded by a ton of Israel’s finest, some of the church members got together in a house to pray. As they prayed into the night, Peter fell asleep only to be awakened by an angel kicking him in the ribs.
Without so much as a hiccup, the angel leads him out of the prison and to freedom.
The soldiers? They never even noticed he was gone – which is a miracle because two of them were chained to Peter while he slept. And another group guarded the doors and gates he walked through.
This is when the story turns humorous.
What If God Answered Your Biggest Prayer?
Peter arrives at the house where they are praying for his protection and release. He knocks on the door, and when Rhoda realized who it was, she was so excited she left him locked out on the front step as she ran to tell the others.
Now, Peter is standing out front, and the church is inside arguing with Rhoda about whether or not Peter is there. They tried to convince her that she was going crazy.
They didn’t even look to see for themselves.
As Rhoda stuck to her guns, the church members came up with another theory – perhaps it was an angel and not Peter in the flesh.
As they sat debating, Peter was banging on the door. Eventually, some rocket scientist of the group decided to open the door and look for themselves.
When they see it really is Peter, they are so astonished they just start babbling at each other. Peter has to shut them up so he can tell him what happened.
What faith, huh?
This is how Luke relayed the story:
And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.
How Is Your Faith Doing?
How many times has the answer to our prayer literally pounded on our door as we sat inside oblivious to the noise?
Pentecostals often have the reputation of being way too emotional. That includes people like me who are introvert and stoic to the point some people are exasperated with me. But, get me in the presence of God, and some of the most extroverted people in the world will call me too emotional.
Worshipping God’s Who Don’t Answer Prayer
I recently watched a video clip of Steve Perry, the former front man for the legendary rock band, Journey. It was 2014, and his San Francisco Giants had made it to the World Series. Perry happened to be in the audience as the stadium blared their classic song “Don’t Stop Believing.”
What did Perry do? Why he jumped up and down, ran around, twirled a towel, and sang at the top of his lungs – much to the delight of the crowd. I have to admit, I thought it was pretty cool.
What did the crowd do? They danced, they shouted, they sang along, they waived their arms, and some of them acted like fools on national television (now YouTube).
Now, Steve Perry has a great voice. Journey was a great band. But they’ve never done anything for me.
I have never had a need where Steve Perry knocked on my door and said, “hey, let me help you with that.”
That’s the same for every single person in that stadium that was shouting their heads off because a guy that sang songs in the 80’s was performing again.
I’m pretty sure there were people in the stands with broken homes. They probably had a good time with Perry, but when they went home, it was still broken.
I’m pretty sure there were people in the stadium battling depression. Sure, it was fun to sing along with the legendary Steve Perry, but when they left the stadium that night – they still had depression.
Addictions, wounded spirits, broken hearts, broken people – nothing changed for them after they shouted and jumped and sang with Steve Perry.
Worshipping a God Who Does Answer Prayer
Now, when I go to church, I get just as emotional as the people in that stadium – maybe even more so. But there is a huge difference in why and the result of that emotion.
Jesus died for me, he’s healed me, he’s provided for me when I was in need. He’s been there for me when no one else could or would be. He’s been closer than any brother ever could be.
He’s saved me.
Do I get emotional? Yes, I do.
I sing at the top of my lungs.
I jump up and down.
I’ve been known to dance a little jig as well.
Yes, I’ve acted like a fool worshipping Jesus before. (Kinda like David did and made Michal embarrassed)
Now, let me ask you – if God answered your most audacious prayer request, how would you act?
What would you do?
How would you come to church the next Sunday?
A lot of people will skip right over that question like it’s nothing important. That’s because they don’t have any audacious prayer requests. They probably don’t pray that much at all.
But me? I’ve got some pretty huge prayer requests.
Jesus said He could do more than I could ask or even imagine. He wouldn’t say that if He didn’t want us to put Him to the test!
So, I dare you – figure out what audacious things you can start praying for. Then, make sure you don’t stand inside and doubt while your answer knocks at the door.