Have you ever encountered God’s word with a “duh – I knew that” moment? I get that all the time. It happened again when I was reading the passage about the church praying while Peter was in jail. The angel of the Lord appeared in the cell with Peter. Peter was sound asleep, even though he was probably slated for execution in the next day or two. Ah, to have that kind of peace! Meanwhile, the church is in a house praying – not sure what they were praying but they were praying nonetheless. Were they praying for Peter’s release? Were they praying for protection for him? Just what were they praying? Scripture is silent about the prayer. After the angel supernaturally freed Peter, Peter shows up on the doorstep of the house where the church was praying. The one who went to the door was overjoyed to hear Peter’s voice on the other side of the closed-door. She was so excited she forgot to open the door for him. Was she seeing the answered prayer right in front of her?
How many times have I prayed specifically for things to occur, and I totally miss the answer? Or how many times have a prayed not really expecting God to answer my prayers? Why then do I even pray? If I am not expecting God to answer, why even go through the motions? Do I believe God hears me? Do I have such small faith that I just don’t think He’ll come through for me? These are the questions I have been pondering since I’ve read about Peter’s release (found in Acts 12:1-18). I was reading this passage the day after I heard a sermon on Expectations. Jesus couldn’t do any miracles in His hometown of Nazareth because of their lack of faith. I realized I have been praying for specific things with little faith. I don’t really expect Jesus to come through for me. I don’t know why. He has been faithful in the past, but I am not expecting much in the future.
Oh, I believe Jesus can do all things. I believe nothing is impossible for God. But obviously I don’t think the prayers I have been praying will amount to anything. I am not anticipating the great things God is capable of or else I would be excited about the future. I would be watching with anticipation, like a child anticipating Christmas. The countdown is on for the fulfillment of the promise; just like the month before Christmas and the child is counting the days. I guess it’s because the future is “out there” with no end in sight. The faith comes in when there is no sight of the end. How long will I have to wait until the promise?
Regardless, my prayers need the expectant attitude. The anticipation of what is to come. God is good all the time. He knows where we are and what we are waiting on. He is also looking in our hearts to see the smallest of seeds of hope and faith. Are they growing or are thy withering? How long will they grow or how long will it take for them to start to die? For those who endure, the promises of blessings will come. If there are no blessings, then it’s not the end. Pray unceasing and with expectation until the blessing comes. God is faithful to fulfill all He has promised! Praise God now for what He is going to do!
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23