Leonard Ravenhill Sermon | Prayer Laughs at Impossibilities
Peter in prison! What a jolt!
We are too far removed from the actual scene to catch the atmosphere of dismay the Christians of that day felt.
Peter had moved from Pentecost to prison, from jeers to spears. He was guarded by sixteen soldiers. One wonders why such a defenseless man needed such a group to watch him. Could it be that Herod feared the supernatural, seeing he knew that Jesus escaped such a group that guarded Him?
Had Peter been hedged in by sixteen hundred soldiers, the problem would not have been increased nor the escape less sure. Peter was bound not only by two chains, but also by the thick walls of the prison, by the three wards of the prison, and finally by an iron gate.
When Peter is in prison, does the church organize a plan to get him released? No. When Peter is jailed, do the believers offer a plea to Herod or suggest a price to offer the lawmakers for his freedom? No. Peter had released others at the hour of prayer; now others must believe for his release.
Right through the book of Acts, which might be called The Acts of Prayer, we find prayer and more prayer. Dig into the book and discover this power that motivated the early church. In the twelfth chapter of Acts we find a group that prayed. Though a host encamped against Peter, in this were these believers confident: there was a God who could and would deliver. The one never-failing rescue operation was prayer. There was no hedging about in the prayers of those who made intercession for Peter. Prayer was made without ceasing by the church unto God for him. They did not seem to be concerned whether Herod should die or not. They did not pray that they might escape Peter's fate. They were not asking that they have another exodus to a more hospitable country. They prayed for one person: Peter. They prayed for one thing: his release. The answer proves the point: "Whatsoever ye shall ask,... that will I do"
Some shabby interpreters of this story have said that when the pray-ers heard that Peter was at the door, they were unbelieving. I cannot accept this assumption. I am sure that they prayed with expectation. I like to think that they were for the moment staggered by the immediacy of the answer. They could be excused if they raised their eyebrows when Peter said, "I got out quite easily with an angel escort " (Next time you pass through the magic self-opening door at your supermarket, remember that the first door to open of its own accord was operated from above!)
Angel deliverances seem to find no place in our modern theology. Perhaps we would like the Lord to answer our prayers with the least embarrassment to us. After all, who expects that the angelic ranks should be disturbed just to bring deliverance to a praying soul? But supernatural results came for many of the praying saints of apostolic days. The Lord geared a property-damaging earthquake to get deliverance for an apostle. Prayer is dynamite.
There is no weapon formed against prayer that can neutralize it. Some things can delay answers to prayer, but nothing can stop the full purpose of God. "Though it tarry, wait for it."
Leonard Ravenhill Sermon: Prayer Laughs at Impossibilities
"Is what you are living for worth Christ dying for?" - Leonard Ravenhill