Over the next few weeks we’ll be featuring Dr. Rob Blackaby’s posts on The Story. This online bible reading guide has gathered authors from around Canada to be featured and is produced by the Canadian Bible Society. Dr. Blackaby has served for more than 9 years as the president of CSBS&C, and for 13 years prior to that as a pastor and church planter.
God sees us and cares about the circumstances in which we are living. Peter was in prison for the third time, where he was awaiting trial and almost certain death. He may have been recalling this very moment when years later he wrote, “The Lord watches over everyone who obeys him, and he listens to their prayers. But he opposes everyone who does evil” (I Peter 3:12).
God intervened. The chains dropped from his wrists, the jail bars shook, and iron gates opened under the hand of God. It is curious, though, how often in this story Peter is told to do his part. Even in the midst of God orchestrating a miraculous escape he reserves a part for Peter. If God was going to do a miracle, why not do everything? Why ask Peter to do anything at all? Peter puts on his clothes and shoes, walks out of the prison in his own strength, then within yards of the prison gate he is left to carry on without the aid of a visible escort. It is amazing how God often chooses to involve us in his activity. He asks us to do the ordinary while he accomplishes the extraordinary. We are not passive bystanders; we are active participants in the activity of God!
Peter is not the only one doing his part; the church is doing their part as well. The turning point in this story is the phrase, “but prayer.” We can never afford to underestimate the power of a praying church. Prayer remains our one and only resource as a church, not merely our last resort. What about you? What is your part in God’s activity? What has he asked you to do?