King Herod arrested different believers not long after Jesus had gone back to heaven. He arrested Peter. King Herod ordered 16 soldiers to guard Peter. The king was going to kill him in a few days.
At the same time, Peter was in jail, the church gathered in someone’s home and prayed for Peter. The night before Peter’s trial, Peter was asleep between two soldiers, bound with chains. Extra guards stood at the entrance. Suddenly, an angel appeared! The angel told Peter, “Get up quickly!” As soon as the angel spoke, the chains fell off of Peter.
The angel said, “Put on your clothes and sandals. Wrap your coat around you. Follow me.” Peter followed the angel, but he thought he was dreaming. Peter and the angel passed the first guards and the second guards. Then the gate opened by itself for them to leave! When they reached the street, the angel left Peter. Peter realized it was not a dream but he really was out of jail.
Peter hurried to Mary’s house where he knew the church was praying. Peter knocked on the door. Rhoda, a servant, came to answer the door. When she heard Peter at the door, she got so excited; she forgot to open the door! She ran to tell the others that Peter was there. At first, the people did not believe Rhoda. Finally, since Peter kept knocking, they opened the door and saw him. Peter told how God brought him out of the jail, but soon he left to hide from the king.
The next morning the soldiers could not find Peter anywhere. King Herod ordered a search for Peter, but they could not find him.
Did you know that in some countries, you can be arrested and put in jail for telling others about Jesus? If you live in a country where you are free to talk about God and share His love with others, you might have a hard time believing that this still takes place today. Unfortunately, not everyone wants the message of Jesus to be told, even today.
Peter was put in jail because he continued to tell others about Jesus. King Herod even wanted to put him to death for his faith. Peter knew the Holy Spirit was with him, even in the midst of trouble. Friends of Peter gathered in Mary’s home to pray. God heard their prayers, and He sent an angel to help Peter escape from prison. The angel led him past guards, and the gate even opened by itself! Peter went to Mary’s home, and then left to hide from the king.
Peter’s friends believed God would hear their prayers. God hears our prayers, too. We can pray for others. We can trust that the Holy Spirit will help Christians in times of trouble. God chooses to answer our prayers in different ways. Sometimes He says yes. Sometimes He says no. Sometimes He says to simply wait. Regardless of how He answers our prayers, we can know His ways are best. His plans are good.
God wants to hear our prayers. No matter what we are going through, we can talk to Him. He will hear us, and He will answer us.
This week, pray for the Christians who live in places where they cannot openly talk about God. Pray for their protection and for courage for them to continue to share the gospel message with those they meet.
1. Why do you think King Herod placed so many guards around Peter in prison?
2. How did God answer the prayers the church prayed for Peter?
3. What happened when Peter went to Mary’s home?
Pray: God, thank You for always hearing our prayers. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit who helps us in times of trouble. You didn’t promise that life would be easy, but You did promise to always be with us and to answer our prayers. Amen.