Acts 12:1-10 :
Now about that time, King Herod stretched out his hands to oppress some of the assembly. He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This was during the days of unleavened bread. When he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of four soldiers each to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. Peter therefore was kept in the prison, but constant prayer was made by the assembly to God for him. The same night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Guards in front of the door kept the prison.
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side, and woke him up, saying, “Stand up quickly!” His chains fell off from his hands. The angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” He did so. He said to him, “Put on your cloak, and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He didn’t know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went out, and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
As you can see, it isn’t unusual for Christians to go to jail. Here we are in the 12th chapter of Acts and Peter has been in jail three times. Evidently, news had made it out about Peter’s earlier escape because this time “four squads of four soldiers” were assigned to him. That’s pretty impressive. As we can see, it still didn’t work.
This shows us that it is always only God who is in control. If it is God’s purpose for us to be in jail for a time, that is where we will be. If it is God’s purpose for us to be out of jail, no “King Herod” will be able to stop us from getting out.
It was James’ time to go to be with Jesus, so, in a sense, James was delivered from the earth to a better place. Peter’s time had not yet come and so he was simply delivered out of jail.
Luke makes special mention of the fact that a “constant prayer was made by the assembly to God for” Peter. We can participate in an end result by praying about it. I am sure that God knew that they were going to pray before they did, but prayer was a part of Peter’s deliverance. God wants us to pray for what we want. Sometimes what we want isn’t what God wants but I believe that if we pray about it, God will make it clear to us whether or not it is something He wants too. In this case, it is exactly what God wanted and Peter walked right out of jail.