Summary: Pray and expect great things from God. Have faith in the positive because God is good. Believe in the unseen power of prayer.
Peter was in a crisis. The church responded appropriately – they pray!
• Yet when the news was told that “Peter is at the door!” their response was, “You’re out of your mind.”
• The servant girl insisted but they resisted, and gave the excuse, “It must be his angel.”
• You see, they even tried to explain away God’s answer. Why? Because they did not expect a miracle.
You pray, but you don’t really expect God to answer in that way.
• Protect him, yes. Keep him safe, yes. But to free him from a highly secured prison with round-the-clock guards, that’s unthinkable.
• You pray, and expect God to do what is humanly possible. You pray, and expect God to do what you expect.
• “You are out of your mind” to say the answer is at the door when we are still praying.
You have that experience? I have, when I was a young Christian.
• You pray but in your mind you’re already saying, “It is quite impossible.”
• You pray for revival, and then tell yourself, “It won’t happen here.”
• It’s very difficult, you say. You go by what is comprehensible, understandable.
• You believe what you see, more than what God can do.
This is the irony. We pray and hope that God to do great things, and yet we are not really expecting Him to.
• We know that God can do the impossible but we don’t believe it is probable.
• Our prayers are earnest, but we expect little from God, so we ask for small things. We just expect Him to help us cope.
(1) Pray and expect great things from God!
External change is inevitable, but internal change is a choice.
• Make the choice to trust God in your adversity.
• The church did the right thing – seek Him!
Have you asked? Have you asked God for a miracle?
• James says, “When he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6-8)
• When you doubt, you are actually believe the opposite. When you say, “I doubt it will happen” you are in actual fact believing that it cannot be done; you are expressing faith in the negative.
• I may know how God will act but I do not doubt. There is a world of difference between not knowing what God will do and doubting what God can do.
Therefore nothing is too much to ask. Mary was told by the angel, “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
• You limit God by how you think. You will not pray for what you have already determined in your mind as impossible.
• You will not pray for healing if you believe that God wants you to remain sick.
The church apparently did not pray for Peter’s release; they are not expecting it.
• We do not know what they pray about, but likely not for a miracle. They probably for his safety, for his health, for his protection, for a fair trial…
• They do have faith but their faith is limited to what they see as probable. To have Peter freed in such a miraculous way was not in their list of possibilities.
• Our faith is MORE rooted in earthly circumstances, than in the greatness of God.
(2) Have faith in the positive, because God is good.
Not that we will not have challenges and problems, trials and pain; but that all things will work together for good, to them that love God (Rom 8:28).
Throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, God has always done the unexpected.
• He can open the sea, stop the river, halt the sun, and raise the dead.
• When Jesus touches the sick, the crippled, the leper, the blind, the demon-possessed, and even the dead, something happens. He leaves His marks at every turn – the sick healed, the blind see, the lame walk, and sinners saved.
Yet we have more faith in the negative than in what God can do.
• We tend to believe more in the bad happening rather than the good.
• We expect the turnout to be bad, we expect the people to feel bored, we expect the situation to remain status quo, and we don’t expect anything to change.
• We have faith in Murphy’s Law that "If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong!"
It seems easier for most people to believe this than believe God.
• You hear people saying, “You see, I told you so, this will happen.”