“So Peter was kept in prison, but fervent and persistent prayer for him was being made to God by the church.” (Acts 12:5 AMP)
How many of us believe that when God answers our prayers it is always far above what we could dare think, dream or imagine? His timing is perfect. His ways are beyond comprehension. His meeting of our needs is according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
This is God’s Standard. It is never ours.
We can only recognize, be aware of and tap into this when we are born of Him. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
There is a need for an unveiling of our eyes for us to see things from His perspective.
We have entered a season when our prayers are to be mixed with faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ for them to be profitable and fruitful. This is where the confidence of our expectancy is established. In Christ, there is no room for wishful thinking. What He suffered for, died for and resurrected from, He made available to all of us who believe. He made us worthy to receive THE PROMISE, the Powerhouse of the Kingdom of God, that He fully paid once and for all by the power of His precious shed blood.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14)
Apart from the great love of our Heavenly Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and our intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. None of us is worthy let alone bold enough to come to His throne to obtain mercy and find grace in time of need. But God is so rich in mercy and abounding in His love. He so loved the world. He so loved you and me that He gave His only begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Who came, washed us clean and made us blameless and holy for the Holy Spirit to indwell us, so that we may be able to live the life that He originally intended, planned and fashioned for us before the foundation of time.
In Christ, we are the His tabernacles in the earth, where the Holy Spirit takes up residence. We are His temples not made by human hands, but fearfully and wonderfully made by Him alone and He set us apart for His purpose.
“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.” (1Corinthians 6:19-20 AMPC)
As we yield to live and move and have our being in Him, He lives and moves and have His being in us. He is not present in our lives as an spectator. He is our ever present HELP in time of need. He desires to be unleashed as we give Him the liberty when we surrender to His will. He leads and guides us. We follow. He highlights the Word of God and make it powerful and livable. When we honor Him, He will respond with His presence. When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. With His presence in us, more will be accomplished than us striving to make things happen, for He cannot live within us and not impact our lives with the way He is. We have been created according to His image and likeness. We have been pre-destined to be like Him and our knowledge of this truth and our awareness of Him is what keeps us secure, confident and assured of who He made us to be.
We cannot thrive victoriously when we are left alone and orphaned. His presence will always go with us and it is He Who gives us rest, success and see our journey to an expected end. He causes us to triumph continually and consistently. He promised to never leave us nor forsake us, thus, His indwelling is our guarantee. I love the AMPC version of this verse that says, “for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5b) His assurance is only accessed and lived out when we believe. We become what we believe.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is what keeps us in God’s standard. He is the SUPER to our natural. He makes manifest the impossibilities possible. It is never by our might nor by our power, but only by the Spirit of God.
Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17 AMP)
It is He Who takes out the scales from our eyes that we may see the TRUTH of Who Jesus is and reveals Him to us experientially. He makes known to us what it means to have Him as our Lord and Savior Who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He imparts to us knowledge of who we truly are in the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ and such powerful knowledge will enable us to walk accordingly.
When Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church, Peter was included in the list and was put in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him. But while Peter was bound in the cell, earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
The night before Peter was to be brought out to the public, something powerful happened as the answer to the prayers made for him.
“As Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door guarding the prison, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in his cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off is hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals. Wrap your cloak around you and follow me. And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leaving into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” (Acts 12:6-11)
What a supernatural way to escape !!! Were the ones praying for Peter expected him to be freed from the prison in such unfathomable and incomprehensible way? No!!! They may have expected their prayers to be answered after having been with Jesus Who boggled their minds by the way He did things, but definitely not that way. In fact, when Peter went to where they were praying, many of them did not believe.
“And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.” (Acts 12:13-17)
This is a God-Standard answered prayer and He desires to do so to us at present. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. What He did before, He will do it again and again. He never stops doing miracles, signs and wonders for that is His very nature, His forte, making impossibilities made possible in His own awesome ways.
Being with Jesus and having His presence in us make things happen supernaturally. On another account where people witnessed another miracle in Acts 4:13 TPT, it says, “The council members were astonished as they witnessed the bold courage of Peter and John, especially when they discovered that they were just ordinary man who had never had religious training. THEN THEY BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND THE EFFECT JESUS HAD ON THEM SIMPLY BY SPENDING TIME WITH HIM.”
I remembered one occasion where the Lord supernaturally gave me the desire of my heart. I used to be a fan of tennis. Oh yes! I would earnestly pray and travel halfway across the globe just to see the tennis stars play live. It was then in the era when Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi were in the top players’ list that I admired and wanted to watch. You could just imagine now my age, hahaha!
One day, I flew to England. The night before I was scheduled to be in Wimbledon grounds, I came to know that Steffi Graf was only scheduled to play at Court No. 1 where top players play apart from the Center Court. Arriving there one day before, it was next to impossible for me to get a ticket, and if there was one, it would be at a high price. All I could ever think of at that moment was, “I’ll just settle to watch her at the practice courts.”
That night, I had a dream. As I was standing next to the ticket booth for general ground admission, I saw an elderly woman who walked towards my direction saying, “Who wants Court No. 1 ticket?” Then, I woke up. Awwww … I was so disappointed because I thought it was real. It was indeed opposite to what Peter experienced when what he thought was a vision, it was reality.
Early the next day, I took the train and there I was in a very long queue to buy the general admission ticket for Wimbledon. A father and his 7yr-old son were behind me. A few minutes later the father went somewhere, maybe to buy something, and it was just in time when the line started to move. So, I turned around and helped the kid, and that gesture of mine made a slight gap between us and the one in front of us. Hmmmm … guess what happened next? Two ladies who were casually chatting suddenly went in front of us, just as if it was their rightful place in the line.
Of course it was just natural for me to be upset, hahaha! But, we are called to be a cut above, called to be peculiar in Christ. Yes, my mind was battling, but there was such a strong force within me just to let them be. “Be a peacemaker because the Prince of Peace dwells in you.” Oh well, now I know that PATIENCE as the fruit of the Holy Spirit was activated within me then. He was all the while effectually at work in me, energizing me and creating in me the power and desire both to will and to do for His pleasure, delight and satisfaction. Thank You, Jesus.
As soon as the two ladies were called to get to the booth to buy their tickets, an elderly man walked towards me holding a ticket. Oh my my my … oh yes, my heart started pounding so strongly and I whispered … “This was my dream last night”. I somehow knew it! The only difference was that this was a man and in my dream was a woman. A few seconds later, he said, “Who wants Court No. 1? I only have one ticket.” Hmmm … yes, I got it! Thank You, Lord.
The very moment I was inside the Wimbledon grounds, my legs became like jelly that I could hardly stand in awe of what just happened! I thought, “What did I do to deserve this?” At that time, I was not yet aware of the favor of God as His standard of showing us how loved we are by Him.
One thing He made me realize and see was that, had I not helped the kid, those two ladies wouldn’t have inserted themselves in the queue. In the same way, had I told them off, I would have been in the ticket booth when the man holding the Court No. 1 ticket came to the line. Truly, all things work together for our good, to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
When He exceeds our expectations is because He moves according to His standard. He said, He will provide our needs ACCORDING TO HIS GLORIOUS RICHES IN CHRIST JESUS!
That day, I did not only watch Steffi Graf once, but twice in the same court which was highly unusual. Towards the end of the day, one of the players backed out due to injury, so there was another open slot which the coordinators decided to put a Mixed Doubles game … and yes, Steffi and John McEnroe were partners. Praise the Lord. What I thought of seeing her on the practice courts became a double portion in Court No. 1. That is God’s standard.
Our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ does not come from striving. It comes when we believe and receive Him in our hearts. It comes from surrendering and allowing Him to be the “Lord and Savior” of our lives. It comes from yieldedness. It comes from giving Him the liberty to be the Potter and we, the clay. It comes from making Him our Shepherd and we, His sheep, who know His voice and we follow Him. It comes from diligently seeking Him, hearing Him speak back to us and us saying to Him, “Be it done to me according to Your Word, Lord.” It comes from our saying “Yes” to cooperate with His purpose, His will, His plan and His mind. But, it takes renewing of our minds, brainwashing and cleansing our negative thoughts most especially thoughts about ourselves if we are worthy enough to receive His wonders or not, and inputting God’s standard thoughts of us, that He made us worthy and it’s a DEFINITE all by His grace and not by our works lest we boast.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
May we not treat prayer as a routine any longer, for what becomes a formula is void of power. But, “the earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMPC). The Lord our God is taking us from faith to faith from glory to glory.
Gone are the days when we just utter casually what needs to be prayed for. Our intimacy, intentionality and consistency are vital. Our expectancy is equally essential. Our prayers mixed with faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ are powerful and unstoppable. All glory to God to Whom all praise is due.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You, for always revealing to us more of Who You are and how valuable we are to You. Thank You, Jesus, for always being the Light within us that we may shine bright as we give voice to our testimonies of Your goodness and faithfulness. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for always guiding us into all truth of what God-Standard means for us to be able to taste and see how great, wonderful and awesome is the Lord Who is greatly to be praised. Amen!
*** If you want to share your God-Standard testimonies, feel free to send me a message. I would love to hear them that I, too, will be encouraged. Our testimony of Jesus is a spirit of prophecy. Thank you and God bless you.