I got a call from Cody today. Do you remember Cody? Nobody does. My friend Cody is in prison. For being stupid, before you ask. Not because he actually committed a crime against the law, but because he made some bad decisions and hung out with the wrong people. It's been a long time and it will still be a long time to go, before he is free. What really kills me is all the people who were his friends who disappeared. Cody is an awesome guy. He's always been a really awesome guy. He's extroverted, so he made a lot of friends and he's very friendly and funny and nice and when I knew him, there was no time for us to really be friends, because he had so many friends. We were acquaintances. My ex was actually his best friend before he went to prison. His ex-girlfriend and I were acquaintances too. But since he's gone to prison, Cody and I have actually become friends. There's few people in this world I actually trust more then that man.
Why am I telling you about Cody? I've been reading Acts recently and remembering the story of Peter getting out of prison. As he was surrounded by many, many guards, there were people outside the walls praying for him.
All the time that Peter was under heavy guard in the jailhouse, the church prayed for him most strenuously.
Then the time came for Herod to bring him out for the kill. That night, even though shackled to two soldiers, one on either side, Peter slept like a baby. And there were guards at the door keeping their eyes on the place. Herod was taking no chances!
Suddenly there was an angel at his side and light flooding the room. The angel shook Peter and got him up: “Hurry!” The handcuffs fell off his wrists. The angel said, “Get dressed. Put on your shoes.” Peter did it. Then, “Grab your coat and let’s get out of here.” Peter followed him, but didn’t believe it was really an angel—he thought he was dreaming.
Past the first guard and then the second, they came to the iron gate that led into the city. It swung open before them on its own, and they were out on the street, free as the breeze. At the first intersection the angel left him, going his own way. That’s when Peter realized it was no dream. “I can’t believe it—this really happened! The Master sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s vicious little production and the spectacle the Jewish mob was looking forward
I'm so floored by this thought. The church prayed. God heard. They asked and He answered. All we have to do is pray. It was within God's will to set Peter free and keep him from death. That is what He chose at that time, but He needed His people praying for His will to be done.
It's convicting. Starting today I am going to be a better friend. I am going to start praying for freedom of the captives. Whether they are in prison like Cody, or whether they are trapped by addiction, by sin, by shame. Whatever the prison is that our friends find themselves in, God put them into our lives for this purpose. You might be the only friend. In Cody's case that is me. It is my duty to pray for him. It is your duty to pray for your friends too, because you might be the only one who does.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’