Have you ever prayed for something that seemed to take a long time for God to answer? Or, have you ever prayed for something, and the answer came so quickly that it almost scared you? Sometimes we don't believe our prayers can be answered so quickly.
In chapter 12 of the book of Acts, James the apostle had been beheaded, and Peter had been arrested by Herod. Then we read that "constant prayer was offered to God for [Peter] by the church" (verse 5). God immediately answered that prayer, sent an angel into the prison, and the doors literally opened for Peter to walk out of jail.
Then Peter went to the house where the church was presumably praying for his deliverance. Peter knocked at the door, a girl named Rhoda answered, and seeing it was the answer to their prayers, she went back to the men of God to tell them that Peter was at the door.
"Guys . . ."
"Quiet. We're praying. 'Lord, deliver Peter. . . .' "
"Don't bother us. We're praying for Peter!"
"Peter is outside! He's standing at the door."
These great men of faith didn't believe God could answer their prayer. But eventually they let Peter in. Poor Peter—God could get him out of prison, but Peter couldn't get himself into a prayer meeting.
God hears and stores our prayers. Revelation 5 talks about a bowl of prayers in Heaven: "Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (verse 8).
No prayer is wasted. Each one is duly noted by God and answered at just the right moment.