Day 185: Pray With Thanks (Job 29:30; Acts 12)

I never enjoyed the game of Monopoly much, but whenever I was coerced to play with family and friends, it seemed the “Get Out of Jail Free” card was the most coveted play to receive. With a little luck, anyone could turn their lives around and break free from Monopoly prison. I find life isn’t that different. Often we find ourselves in a tight spot and think that with just a little luck or with a little last-minute praying we can turn it all around in a dramatic flourish.

For Peter in Acts 12, that’s exactly what happened, albeit in more serious stakes than a game of Monopoly. His friend James had just been executed for his faith. King Herod, guided by his need for other people’s approval rather than for God’s favor, threw Peter in prison with the same intended execution. The church gathered in their homes and earnestly prayed for his life.

But something happens: an angel of the Lord appears in his prison cell and leads him to safety. I think it says a lot about Peter’s security in his faith to read he “was sleeping between two soldiers,” despite the intended execution that awaited him in the morning (Acts 12:6.) What’s more is that he followed the angel despite believing he was hallucinating!

Peter’s miraculous escape should be a reminder for us on how and why we pray. A prayer should not simply be a birthday wish or a list of demands. We cannot bargain with God. A prayer should be part of our daily conversation with Jesus. It should be a testimony to our faith and a reminder that we can be comforted in knowing that our fates lie in His hands alone. At the end of the day or in the midst of a trial (literal like Peter’s or not), we are striving to live for God’s approval.

Be confident in our God and know that he will be the light that shines through the prison bars in your life, the trials you face that may seem impossible to break. Have faith in His plan and be like Peter. Go forth and spread the good news, despite the obstacles and people that may try to stand in your way.

Do you only pray when you face trials, as a last resort effort to “Get Out of Jail,” or do you pray with thanksgiving to our Father?

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