In Acts 16:16-34, Luke described a sequence of events that led to a miracle. Paul and Silas were preaching in Philippi. They cast an unclean spirit out of a girl whom it had empowered to predict the future. Her owners drug them to a Roman court in the city. The judges had them stripped, beaten, and jailed with their feet stocked.
Around midnight, while they were praying and singing, their prayers were answered through a very violent earthquake. Earthquakes don’t generally happen to one building at a time. Either the quake was so great that the entire city was shaken to its foundations, as the jail was, or the quake was so focused that only the jail was rattled. Both are impressive miracles.
The doors of the jail were opened and the chains fell off the prisoners. This is strange impact of an earthquake, too. Suddenly, everyone in range of the praying was free, by a violent shaking. The jailer and his family got saved and baptized and served Paul and Silas a midnight meal.
Our God is so much wiser than us, and sees so much farther than us, that when He answers our prayers, we can’t always recognize what He is doing as beneficial. Every step we take and every word we speak should be in response to asking Him, “What are you doing, and how do I cooperate?”