Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Surprised by Answered Prayer?"

Acts 12:5,7b  "But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him...and the chains fell off his wrists."

When we link hands with God through prayer, chains will break.  Do you believe this?  Or are we surprised when our prayers are answered?  

The church is praying earnestly, night and day for Peter...Peter is in prison, chained between two guards, and yet he sleeps.  Their prayers are answered...but, they are surprised. And I'm surprised that they are surprised...it looks like faith to me.

I can't help but think of Mark 9:24 when a father, whose son is possessed by a demon, and he comes to Jesus asking for help.  "But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  The man doesn't seem to sure if Jesus can help.  The "if" in his words reveal his lack of faith.  So Jesus says, if you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."  When we trust God, we will take Him at His Word, and we will know that all His promises are true, that all things are possible with Christ. 

I like the response of the father, he doesn't try to back peddle, try to change what he said to make it sound like he doesn't doubt..." what I meant to say is, "I know You can, but not sure if that's your will for my son."   No, immediately he is open and honest with Jesus..."Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

The father in this story believed in Jesus' power to deliver his son...that's why the church was praying and why Peter could sleep even though facing a trial....that's why they came to Jesus. Their unbelief was not a rejection of God's promises...it just seemed too good to be true.  They have faith...but are in need of more.

Spurgeon said:  “Help my unbelief” is something a man can only say by faith. “While men have no faith, they are unconscious of their unbelief; but, as soon as they get a little faith, then they begin to be conscious of the greatness of their unbelief.” 

Peter is no novice disciple, when he preaches, thousands believe.  When he heals, demons run. When he prays, the dead live again.  Visions and miracles are happening all around him.  The church is witness to all this too.  And yet, when they ask for the impossible and the impossible happens...they doubt.  

I've been surprised too many times by answered prayer. I cry out too"Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!"   In the greek "help" means...to run to the cry of those in danger, bring aid, to succor.  Father, here my cry and bring help to those I love who are in need of your deliverance.  I believe that prayer breaks the chains, the sins that binds the heart of my prodigal.  Lord, I believe but help my unbelief today. Increase my faith and help me to stand in full assurance of Your promises.   In Jesus name, amen.

Standing in Him,

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