Okay, here's the deal. We pray. God hears. God answers. Right? I mean that's what the Bible promises right?
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us...
Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Answered prayer is PROOF that God is real. It's PROOF that the Bible is true. It's encouraging. It's sometimes surprising. I've heard it said that we shouldn't be surprised when God answers prayer, because surprise indicates a lack of faith. We should just believe and expect Him to answer. Sometimes I've felt "surprised" that God answered my prayers. I am in awe that God considers me worth His time. Is this feeling of awe or surprise wrong? Does it indicate a lack of faith? The Psalmist expressed such emotions. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalm 8:3-4.
Was Rhoda surprised to see Peter in Acts 12? I'm sure she was. After all, as far as anyone knew he was still chained up in prison. I think she was also overjoyed to see Peter. The Bible says she didn't open the gate because of her gladness. And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. She was SO excited that God had answered their prayers that she left Peter standing outside! It is a comical picture :).
I think sometimes we in our human frailties confuse our joy with surprise. I don't necessarily think being surprised that God answers prayer is wrong. We should be filled with awe and wonder at the greatness of our God! Our minds cannot comprehend His goodness to us. He showers us with blessing beyond what we deserve. Does that surprise me? I have to be honest... yes. But it also fills my heart with joy and gladness.
A while ago I wrote about Impossible Prayer. I'm still praying, but God has been answering many prayers the past few weeks. It's a bit hard to describe because they are being answered in small ways. He is working. He is revealing His will. The picture is not complete yet, but I have utmost confidence that God will continue His work. It's amazing to see events unfold and KNOW that God is behind them!