Through the Iron Gate.

Peter followed him (an angel of the Lord) out of the prison…They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. Acts 12:9-10 (NIV)

The story of Peter’s miraculous release from prison is a magnificent account of the power of God Who literally breaks through the physical limitations of earth, unhindered by Peter’s chains, stalwart guards, and sentries.

And an iron gate.

All this for a guy who’d previously denied he even knew Jesus when questioned–three times–and was far more concerned about his own comfort as he stood by a fire to warm himself outside the courtyard of the high priest (John 18:15-17, 25-27).

But the Peter of the book of Acts had long since been transformed by the power of the grace of God and, in present circumstances (chained between two guards), his faith sustained him.

Arrested and imprisoned under orders by King Herod, Peter was sure to face the same fate of James, the brother of John, who’d been put to death with the sword. 

Yeah, Peter. It’s likely you’re up next, sir. 

But…the church.

They were earnestly praying to God for him. (vs 5)

I want to be the Church that is earnestly praying for those who are imprisoned by any number of things… cancer, loneliness, fear, addiction, false beliefs, sexual immorality, marital strife, bitterness, pride.

I want to keep that iron gate in my cross hairs, knowing those I care about are being held prisoner within the city walls of a fallen world, and pray that thing wide open.

I want to be undaunted by the solid mass of iron, a gate capable of keeping others out and restraining those within. 

An iron gate that’s no match for the earnest prayers of Believers whose petitions gather strength as others come alongside, rendering the gate no more effective than a wobbly sheet of balsa wood.

And what if I’m the one who’s been captured behind the iron gate?

Who’s out there praying in earnest for my release? Are there any prayers being offered up?

Uh…hello?

May it never be said I wasn’t among those who prayed for the iron gate of captivity to be opened so another could be set free.

Who in your life is counting on you to persist in prayer for the iron gate to open on their behalf? Who might not know their sins have put them in prison and need the power of prayer to work a miracle? And…who’s praying for you to walk through the iron gate that’s held you captive?

Mary

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1 Comment

  1. I read this same passage just this morning! I was struck by how some of the pray-ers were surprised when Peter showed up (esp. Rhoda). They were probably praying for one thing–maybe that Peter would be acquitted. Then they were surprised when God worked differently. Maybe I always be open to God working outside of and beyond my expectations.

    And I would be honored to pray you out of prison, Mary.

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