What is the power of prayer? In the days of vicious persecution against Christians, God answered the intercessory prayers of His faithful saints.
In the days of the early church, Peter, the apostle, had been imprisoned. He was heavily guarded and it was planned that he would be executed the next day by the sadistic, Herod. It was late at night and the saints of the Jerusalem church were keeping an all-night prayer vigil for his release.
Peter was sleeping well past midnight when an angel woke him up. His chains fell off, he quickly dressed and followed the angel past the 16 guards, past the iron gate and down a street before the angel disappeared. Peter was stunned but when he realised it wasn’t a vision, he hurried to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where the saints were praying.
He knocked at the door. Rhoda immediately ran to the door but when she recognised Peter’s voice she was overwhelmed and ran off to tell the others leaving Peter locked outside. They rudely told her she was insane, from maíne, the root of the English terms, "maniac" and "mania”. Rhoda insisted and hearing the continual knocking they opened the door to find that Peter really was there (Acts 12:1-19).
Sometimes it is hard enough for other believers to believe it when God answers our prayers. It’s hard for unbelievers to believe it when we speak about who Jesus is. Paul was told by Festus, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” (Acts 26:24). Sinful Israel is recorded as saying that the prophet is a fool and the spiritual man is insane (Hosea 9:7).
So Rhoda is a lesson to us in persistence. Against all the arguments she was insistent that Peter was at the door. Peter, likewise, was persistent in his knocking on the door. Regardless of what people think, we are to continue to persist on telling people about Jesus. We are to expect people to scoff at the Christian message, even as Paul wrote: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).
Above all Jesus tells us to keep on praying: “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7 Amp).
And don't be surprised when God answers prayers!
*References from the NKJV unless otherwise stated.