Ruining Prayer Meetings

Rhoda . . . ran inside and announced that Peter was at the door. “You’re crazy!” they told her.                                      Acts 12:14-15    


Rhoda knew how to wreck a prayer meeting.  

Peter had just been arrested and thrown in prison.  Many believers gathered at the house of Mary, John Mark’s mother (the Mark, by the way, who wrote the second Gospel) to pray for Peter’s release.  

An angel of the Lord freed Peter from prison, and Peter went immediately to Mary’s house. When Rhoda, the servant girl, recognized Peter standing at the door, she ran to tell everyone.  Everyone thought she was crazy and were annoyed that she was interrupting their meeting to pray for Peter’s release from prison!   


Once, after a long drought, a church held a special meeting to pray for rain. After the people had assembled the pastor asked a pointed question, “How come none of you brought your umbrella along?”   


When we explain why certain things are impossible, let’s be sure God isn’t already at work doing them.  

Benjamin Butler was a politician with no military training.  During the Civil War, however, he was appointed a general.  When General Grant told him to capture Fort Fisher, a vital target in the war, Butler proved disappointing.  When Grant tried to sack him, Butler went to Washington to appeal his case before the Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War.   

Butler produced charts and reports by subordinates to prove he was right to call off the attack on Fort FisherGeneral Butler then proceeded to prove that close scrutiny of the fort showed it could not be taken. The fort’s thick walls and torpedo fields made it impossible to attack by land or naval bombardment.  

While Butler passionately defended his actions before the committee, the noise outside became distracting.  People were cheering. Soon they discovered why. The newspaper headline announced that Fort Fisher had been captured by General Terry.   

The committee meeting dissolved into laughter.  While General Butler proved that Fort Fisher would not be captured, it was captured.  


The Chinese have a proverb: “The man who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the man who is doing it.”   


I often caution people about prayer.  I tell them that prayer is not a magic wand. But, on the other hand, we must be careful not to tell God what can and cannot be done.  If past history is any indicator, he doesn’t mind ruining prayer meetings.  

(copyright 2011 by Marty Kaarre)