Acts 12 tells us James, the brother of John, was killed, and Peter was arrested. It also tells us that constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. Then God sent an angel to miraculously remove Peter’s chains and free him from prison. When he showed up at a house where a group was praying, they were surprised to see him. I’ve always wondered why they would be surprised if they were praying. Verse 16 says they were astonished.
Perhaps it was because this was not the expected answer to their prayers. Perhaps they were praying for God to give him strength or for Herod to release him the next day. Perhaps they were praying for the religious leaders that were exciting persecutions to have a change of heart. Perhaps they were praying Peter would endure any beatings and then be released. They might have just been praying for his life after Herod had recently killed James. Or perhaps they were praying for their own safety.
Whatever they prayed, they were not expecting this miraculous answer. God answered above and beyond their expectations, and they were astonished.
How many times do we pray with our predetermined vision of how God will answer? Because of this, how many times do we miss God’s answer to our prayers? Keep your eyes open and look for His answers. Many times, perhaps even most times, He answers in unexpected and unimagined ways.
The awesome thing about this is that we then know it’s God and not us. Continue to pray and expect the unexpected.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).