Do you have any idea how many people are praying for you? While you might not have realized it, the body of Christ—your brothers and sisters in the faith—are praying for you, thinking about you, and caring about what concerns you. It is an interesting thing to be prayed for, isn’t it?
Sometimes our Father answers prayer outright, delivers us, and we share a glorious testimony to His provision and answered prayer. Other times, Father answers differently, prayer takes longer to be answered—if at all seemingly—and our requests are swallowed in a flood of challenges and doubts.
Even so, prayer is a discussion between a Believer and the Lord God, and while our prayers are not always answered as we might wish, God listens, considers, and always has our best in mind. In fact, God will even do things that appear incongruous with who He is in answering our prayers.
Do you remember the story of Peter in prison in Acts 12? He was in big trouble! Best guesses said he would not live through the night. Under heavy guard, in a maximum security prison, and about to be called before Herod, Acts 12:5 notes, “...but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church.”
In this instance, God delivered Peter. He was awakened by an angel, his shackles fell off, the prison doors swung open, and Peter walked out a free man. No doubt, many times God chooses to answer prayer and deliver. But sometimes He chooses to answer prayer and not deliver. Is that okay by you?
Two things got my attention as I reviewed this story. First, Peter was guarded by multiple soldiers and he escaped. Later that night, when Herod called for Peter to come before him and he was found missing, it is likely a follow-up command was issued to execute all those responsible for guarding Peter.
Consider that for a moment. Believers pray, God delivers Peter from prison, and multiple people are executed as a result. God is serious when it comes to answering prayer!
In all probability you will not be delivered miraculously from the anxious times that are troubling you. But make no mistake, if God is determined enough to answer prayer that He will kill folks in the process, then He will not be so slack as to not respond to prayer in the first place. Just because you cannot see His hand move against your captors does not mean He is callous in His heart to your request.
And that brings me to the second thing I want to offer for your consideration: Notice that Acts 12:7 says a light shown in the jail cell when the angel appeared. We are told that “God is light and in Him is no darkness.” Further, we are called to “walk in the light” (1 Jn. 1:5-7).
Do not miss this point: The light shown in the cell before Peter was delivered. While there is no guarantee you will escape the worst of the challenge you are facing, there is no reasonable question about whether or not you have light to walk in with your Heavenly Father, even in your difficulties. While Peter escaped prison, there is no possibility of Father escaping you. He is not trying!
Another thing is for certain: You will never have another opportunity to trust God like the opportunity you face affords to you right now. Don’t waste this experience! Walk in the light! Trust your Father. You may as well fight the good fight rather than simply get run over by circumstance.
Here is an image for you to consider: Peter was awaiting a probable death sentence. But when the angel appeared to him, he was asleep and undressed. In other words, Peter was at rest in the midst of big-time trouble, and you can be as well. It is all in who you know.
Here is my encouragement: Pray for deliverance, but do not look for deliverance. Look to Him instead. If Father delivers you out, great. If Father delivers you through, great. He will deliver.
Walk in the light that is your Father’s constant and abiding presence in you and through you. While you might not like the answer to prayer He comes up with, He is faithful and you will like Him.