Expecting the Unexpected


“When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, ‘Peter is standing at the door!’”  —  Acts 12:14

We know nothing about Rhoda except for her delightful response to an unexpected event. She was among a group of Christians who gathered to pray for the release of Peter. Herod had already put to death the apostle James and promised to do the same to Peter. Christians felt helpless to do anything except pray, which they did persistently, even though hope of a miracle seemed slight.

Meanwhile, Peter slept soundly in his chains. An angel appeared in his cell, released the chains, and led the sleepy apostle out of prison. Once outside, Peter finally came fully awake and hurried to the home where the Christians were keeping the prayerful vigil.

When Peter rattled the outside gate, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Hearing Peter’s voice, she got so excited she forgot to open the door but instead ran inside to tell everyone.

Rhoda’s oversight underscores how many times we only half expect God to answer our pleas. In fact, immediate answers usually astound us. But to those who persist in specific prayer, such answers are not surprising.

What does Rhoda’s experience bring to light in our lives concerning prayer? When we pray, do we expect God to answer or to ignore our concerns? Are we truly expecting God to act on our behalf? Is our prayer life up and down like a roller coaster?

If we are going to pray with effectiveness and see God move in power, then we must not waver in our faith and trust in Him! James 1 says, “But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should  not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (vs. 6-7).

God is at work! We must live in such a way that we expect the unexpected!

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