The Great Escape
Read This Week: Acts 12
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 Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches.” – Acts 12:6-7 & 11 NIV
We are all captivated by stories of escape. When we watch, read, or hear narratives involving people escaping from danger, oppression, and difficulty, it inspires and evokes in us an innate sense of freedom. Our hearts find exhilaration in miraculous stories of survival and perseverance.
Acts chapter 12 captures such a story of a great escape. Peter was in prison for the third time, waiting on a trial, and facing certain death for the proclamation of Jesus Christ. Then, in an unforeseen miracle, his cell is lit up by a heavenly light; an angel of the Lord appears to him, and the chains fall off of his wrists. Peter then gets up and walks out of the prison to freedom. He had made his great escape by the hand of God to continue his mission for the gospel.
This amazing story points to the assurances and promises of God for us in our daily lives. It shows that God acknowledges and see us in our trials. He saw the persecution of His church and intervened in His transcendent power to help and preserve them. It is good to know that no matter how difficult the challenges, disappointments, and suffering we encounter, the Lord sees us and has everything under control. He provides a way to escape for His children.
Peter’s account also demonstrates that God hears our cries and prayers in our time of deep need. While the Apostle sat in prison, the people of God were interceding on his behalf, and God heard their petitions and acted. Verse 5 says, So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
Right after this, the angel appears, and Peter is saved and makes his escape. He had confidence and peace because he believed Jesus’ promise that he would not be killed at this time. But, he also had many believers praying for him that God responded to with the provision of safety and preservation. That’s what he does for us. He cares and hears our cries for help, and in His power, delivers us.
At the beginning of Acts 12, the vile and brutal King Herod seemed to be in control of the church’s fate as he tormented and persecuted them. However, by the end of the chapter, Herod was dead and verse 24 tells us that the word of God continued to spread and flourish. The movement of God had made a great escape from the wrath of violent people who sought to destroy it. The same is still true today. The gospel will always persevere and God’s people will continue to walk out of the chains of oppression to proclaim it.
In reading Acts 12:5 this week, this is what God was saying to me: “Much of your prayer is powerless because it lacks earnestness. Earnest prayer has power. It demonstrates your heart cares passionately about the things I care about. Those who prayed for Peter when he was going to be executed were earnest in their prayers but may not have had overwhelming faith.
Little faith can accomplish great things if it is placed in Me. Often your prayers are weak because you are not consciously coming into my presence, offering your requests to Me.”
What this said to me is to be earnest means showing sincere and intense conviction. My prayers need to be this way. I need to be more intentional with God and the time I spend with Him, and this will bring me closer to Him.
Great post and commentary, Kathy especially on the subject of worship-based prayer. This really caught my heart:
Much of your prayer is powerless because it lacks earnestness. Earnest prayer has power. It demonstrates your heart cares passionately about the things I care about.
I think this is so true. I once heard someone say that prayerlessness and the lack of earnestness in prayer is a declaration of independence of God. It is spiritually saying to God that we don’t really need Him. I think your statement goes hand in hand with that as well that we should demonstrate in prayer our desire for God and our passion for His heart and what He cares about.
I kept being drawn to Acts 12:24 the most this week. It says, But the word of the Lord [the good news about salvation through Christ] continued to grow and spread [increasing in effectiveness]. I heard God saying to me through this, “It’s always going to be all about salvation first, that’s where your relationship with us starts. Then as your learning to grow in the ways of the Lord, which is in the Bible to help you and guide you, and I have given you the Holy Spirit to help you too, you will help others to grow.
What’s important every day is to have goals, seek Me, Ask Me what’s on My heart, how you can be apart of what I’m doing. It’s up to you to want to learn, grow, seek how to continue to spread the good news so more and more people will be added to the Family.”
What this means to me is – until I go home to be with Father God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the people in the bible that served God until they went to heaven are to follow how Jesus lived and all the other people that served Father God until they went to heaven.
Everyone has their time when they go, we all die in different ways. But what’s important is to continue every day listening to Father God how to be a good servant, messenger, learn what our gifts are, and use them until that day.
This is so good, Heidi and I always appreciate your attention to and your words about personal devotion and walking with God on a daily basis. This was my favorite part of your post:
What’s important every day is to have goals, seek Me, Ask Me what’s on My heart, how you can be apart of what I’m doing. It’s up to you to want to learn, grow, seek how to continue to spread the good news.
This expresses the intentionality and commitment we need each day to stay close to the Lord, to know His heart, and to be able to live out His mission.
I got another song this week from Acts 12 called, “Angels”:
We live in a wonderful, wonderful world
With our Jesus and Angels
Many, many times throughout our lives
Angels are among us saving and helping us through
Showing miracles, miracles of our Lord
So let’s follow our Lord
Our life will be full of blessings from above
His big light will shine through us
Showing all we are miracles, miracles, miracles of the Lord. Amen.
Just know that Jesus is with us all the time and sometimes he sends his Angels to help us through.
Thank you for the reminder this week, Alma, that God is our Sustainer and provides us with what we need in so many different ways. He is certainly a good Father that gives such good gifts from above.