6 On [d]the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and [e]put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he *said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 When Peter came [f]to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all [g]that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12 And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.” 16 But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to [h]James and the brethren.” Then he left and went to another place.
18 Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to [i]what could have become of Peter. 19 When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time there.
Except for a very brief speech he makes in Acts 15 to the Council at Jerusalem, this is the last time Peter makes an appearance in the Book of Acts. It is clear that this is to make room for Paul's ministry. There is a lot in this passage, but most of it, to be frank, makes us uncomfortable.
Peter is yet again in prison, but this time, it is clear that, without a miracle, he was there to stay to await his beheading. But an angel steps in and frees him. An incredible 'houdini moment'. But there were no tricks here. No hidden keys. Just a faithful servant and an angel to lead him out. But what makes us more uncomfortable, though a loved-one in prison is always hard to take, is the reaction of those praying - possibly mirroring our lack of faith when we pray.
How often have we prayed for something, but do not pray in faith, believing that the LORD is actually able to answer our prayers in tangible form? There is a group of people that are earnestly praying for Peter's release. His arrival shocks everyone. Their answer is literally standing at the door knocking, but they do not believe he is there - brushing it off as his angel. They had part of it right. There was an angel involved in this, but it wasn't Peter's angel. He was miraculously released by an angel and because this release, he is literally on their doorstep, giving tangible proof that the LORD does answer prayer.
What prayers are you and I praying today that, in our earnestness, we aren't ready to see the answer right in front of us? I hope I'm not stretching this too far, but I do see there are actions on our part when we pray - especially in praying for those things that are way outside our periphery of understanding and faith. We do need to 'open the door' after we pray. What prayers are you praying that you need to open the door of faith and let in the answer?
Note, the people were asking for Peter's release, but I am quite certain that many were wanting him to come and be with them a while, but Peter had other business to attend to. Maybe our answer will not be the one we were hoping for, but it will be on God's timeline and for His fame.
And so, Peter fades into the background and makes way for the Apostle Paul. Incredible stories are now behind us of someone who was willing to learn from the Master and seek out others who need to hear this saving knowledge. Despite the suffering and imprisonment, we do see a faithful servant who sought the LORD's fame in places where it wasn't present.