Daily Devotionals

An Extra Helping Week 2 Wednesday

But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. Acts 12:5

We communicate with people because we expect that our communication will make a difference. Children learn this from a young age. They understand that their caregiver will respond when they ask for water, a snack, a TV show to watch. They communicate because they know the power of their communication. On a much deeper level, Scripture teaches that prayer is deeply powerful. Prayer makes a difference. When we pray, we can pray with the expectation that this prayer matters because of the power and effectiveness of communication with God.

The early church sets a wonderful example for us as people who prayed. As they prayed, they discovered that their prayers were powerful. One of the greatest examples we have of this is found in Acts 12. James, one of Jesus’ disciples, had been killed because of His faith in Jesus. Peter, another one of Jesus’ disciples who was a foundational part of the church, was arrested. As Peter was arrested, the church prayed for him. Not only did they pray for him, but they also prayed “very earnestly” for Peter (verse 5). As the church prayed, an angel rescued Peter from prison the very night before his trial was to take place. The church had no idea this was happening. After being freed from prison, Peter went to a place where many Christ-followers were praying. When the servant girl of the home went to answer the door, she heard Peter’s voice and was so excited she forgot to answer the door and ran to tell the rest of the people in the house that Peter was at the door. Meanwhile, Peter continued to knock. When they finally opened the door to see Peter, they were amazed to see him freed from prison standing in front of them. Their prayers for Peter’s release were powerful.

Our prayers are powerful today too. When we pray, the Creator of the universe hears us and responds. He does not always move and respond in the way we hope, but He always moves in the way that is best, for our good and His glory.


What would you pray for if you truly believed that your prayers were powerful? Is there something that you are holding back from praying for because you have doubted prayer’s power? Consider the story of Peter and the ways that prayer has had a great impact on your own life. As you remember the power of prayer, pray as if you truly believe your prayers are powerful and that God will be moved by them.


Read Acts 12:1-19(NLT)

About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration.) Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.

Peter’s Miraculous Escape from Prison
The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered.

So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.

Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”

When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!”

“You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”

Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers what happened,” he said. And then he went to another place.

At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter. Herod Agrippa ordered a thorough search for him. When he couldn’t be found, Herod interrogated the guards and sentenced them to death. Afterward Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.