The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Acts 12:5-17 we find a miraculous release from prison. Peter, having been arrested and kept under heavy guard, was awakened by an angel during the night. He found himself released from his chains. The angel spurred him into action by telling him exactly what to do - put on his sandals, leave the prison.
Peter, not surprisingly, thought this was some sort of a dream. He expected that he would not be released, certainly not in this way. Yet, as he followed the directions, he gradually realized that it was not a dream and that he had been rescued from prison.
What of the other Christians? In possibly one of the funniest ironies in the New Testament, the people assembled to pray for Peter’s release were taken by surprise. When Peter knocked on the door, the doorkeeper was so surprised to see him that she left him outside and told the others. They assumed that the doorkeeper was mistaken or that Peter’s ghost had come. Peter continued knocking on the door until he was received inside.
In times of trouble our prayers are very fervent. But our trust in God may well trail behind. We would like to believe something will happen, but somehow we still expect the person we pray for will remain in prison, will remain ill, will even die. We are uncomfortable with the supernatural abilities of God. Yet sometimes God’s intervention is unmistakeable. We find that he is still the one who can heal the sick and raise the dead. This is to the glory of God.
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