But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place. In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. (Acts 12:16-19a)
In Acts 10:38 Peter tells us that Jesus healed all who were under the power of the devil. I think that means that most, if not all, sickness comes from Satan. Perhaps Satan has his hand in every bad thing that happens in this world and that is why the Bible tells us that our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood (people) but against the dark powers of the world and against the spiritual forces of evil. Today’s Scripture gives us insight into good vs. evil.
King Herod was lawless; the enemy had overtaken him. He was the king of cross-examination, the formal interrogation of a witness. The enemy is an interrogator, making us question decisions we’ve made; convincing us our prayers won’t be answered; and telling us we don’t deserve blessings, won’t ever get out of debt, won’t ever regain health, and won’t ever get a good job. When we don’t pray to fight the enemy, negative thoughts seep into our minds. When our cup is half empty, negativity has executed us; we’re more dead than alive. The enemy gives us the need to pray.
Christians, on the other hand, are righteous because, by God’s grace, when we repent, our sin is buried with Jesus. As Christians we are to resist the enemy and should never cause the need for others to pray. We are called upon to be the answer to prayer. Whether the people at John Mark’s mother’s home were praying for Peter to be released from jail or for Peter not to suffer, Peter showing up at their prayer meeting was the answer to their prayers. But these early Christians refused to accept that their prayers had been answered.
When people refuse to let us be an answer to their prayer, we should keep on trying or knocking as Peter did because God wants to use us to answer prayer, not walk away.
Father, I praise you for answering prayer. Nudge me to answer the knock on my door when you’re sending someone to answer my prayer. Keep the enemy out of my life so I am less needy. Help me to discern people’s needs so I can be an answer to someone’s prayer this week. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.