Astonish Us O God “...and when they opened the door and say him, they were astonished.” Acts 12:16
Acts 12 records Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison. Herod the king wanted to harass the church so he killed James, the brother of John with the sword and then he seized Peter and put him in prison. The situation was dire. The church knew Peter’s life was in danger. The church responded with fervent prayer. Acts 12:5 says, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”
God responded with miraculous power. He sent an angel who walked right into the prison, caused Peter’s chains to fall off and led him to freedom. Just as soon as he had appeared the angel left and Peter made his way to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark where the prayer meetings were being held. Peter knocks on the door and a young lady runs to the door and hears that it is Peter, leaves him standing outside and runs back to tell the good news to those in prayer. Their response? “You’re crazy!” But she persisted and they said, “It’s his angel.” (Whatever that means.) Poor Peter kept knocking and when they opened the door and saw him, “they were astonished.” Obviously God answers prayer even when our faith is puny. Verse 18 says, “As soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what became of Peter.” They were astonished too! Who wouldn’t be?
Do you ever think about God doing something that would astonish you? I fear that we have gotten so used to “not seeing” His power that we no longer think we ever could see it. I think we should ask the Lord to astonish us! Surprise us! Take our breath away! Show us just how good and great He is.
It has been said that many who prayed for revival in the past rejected it when it came. Revival is astonishing! Martin Lloyd-Jones said, “If you can explain what’s happening...it’s not revival.” Have we become too astute...too sure of ourselves? Have we put God in a box?
I asked our congregation once if they believed that when the Bible says “The place where they were assembled together was shaken,” in Acts 4:31 that the place actually shook? Most everyone raised their hand to say yes, they believed it. What if someone reported to you they had just come from a great prayer meeting and you asked if the room shook and they said “No,” would it be right for you to say, “Well then, you didn’t have a great prayer meeting”? “No” you say. It would be wrong to think that for a great prayer meeting to take place the room has to shake. I agree. But, turn it around. What if the same person reported that the room did shake? Would you believe them? If your answer is no it may be because you don’t believe God would do such a thing today. You see, to say, “The room has to shake to have a great prayer meeting,” is putting God in a box. To say, “God would never shake a room today,” is also putting God in a box.
We do not prescribe what God can or must do. But one thing is for sure. Whenever God chooses to demonstrate His power we will be astonished. Perhaps the sleeping church needs the wake-up call of an astonishing move of God! The early church asked to see God’s power. “Lord...grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30) It was right after this prayer that the place where they were assembled together was shaken. (vs. 31)
“Lord God, come and be God among us. Do whatever you want to do. We want to see Your glory. We want You to take center stage and reveal Your presence and power among us. Astonish us, O God!”