Our reading is taking from Acts 12: 11-5 saying, “Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church, in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church of God.”
Herod wanted to show his power to the people, firstly killing James the son of Zebedee who was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred. He was proud of himself and happy with the way it pleases the Jews, taking a life of an apostle of Jesus, using it as an example to the rest of the apostles left in the city.
The death of James at the hand of Herod serves to signal us to two very important changes. First, the actions of Herod reveals a fundamental change in the attitude of this Herod compared to the attitude of his predecessor, under whose authority Jesus was put to death.
Then he asked for the head of the apostles, so as to suffer the same fate as what James passed through. After discovering it was Peter, he proceeded in arresting him. And now it was during the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Peter was seized and put in prison. He was in chains to four squads of soldiers – his who legs were locked in chain connecting to two soldiers, and his two hands each were also locked in chain connecting to two other soldiers. It seemed very much impossible for Peter to ever dream of escaping from such kind of bondage without being noticed. Even in such chains, the gate of the prison was still locked. And there was another gate outside the prison, locked also with soldiers surrounding them.
The rest apostles gathered in a room, during this Feast day, praying without ceasing for the life of Peter who has been put to jail and who was expected to be killed by morning.
Lets’ see what happened in Acts 12:6-11 says, “And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.”
Where all seems impossible, God made it possible. God has the master key to break every chains, every burden, whatever challenges we face, if we turn to God in prayer – believing in faith that it has been answered. Miracles will come from any angle to your aid.
Peter may have given up in the prison, and may have accepted his fate that he’s going to die soon by the hands of Herod. He was asleep, and the angel of God visited him. Even while he was led out of the prison by the angel, he still couldn’t believe it was real – he felt he was dreaming or seeing a vision until he was totally out of the jail, and left to go back home on his own.
Probably some the prison guards (soldiers) were asleep, and possibly few weren’t. But none of them were aware or conscious of Peter’s exist from the cell. Neither the chains which were broken from the hands of Peter made a noise nor the gate of the cell. It was a clear miracle from God, making the impossibility possible.
In summary, the power of prayer should not be underestimated. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. God most definitely listens to prayers; answer prayers, and moves in response to prayers. Learn to pray today. God bless.