For behold, he is praying

The Lord spoke to Ananias in a vision and he answered: Here I am, Lord (Acts (9:10 ESV). What struck me was the fact that the Lord called Ananias on his name. On his side, Ananias must have known the voice of the Lord from experience, having encounters with the Lord and hearing His voice regularly. But, what was even more striking was how the Lord tried to convince Ananias to go and pray for Paul, at that stage still known as Saul. He gave Ananias detailed instructions and even the address where Paul resided at that moment. Then the Lord said these words: for behold, he is praying (Acts 9: 11, ESV).

For behold, he is praying. Paul`s transformed life and future life was characterized by a life dedicated to prayer. One of the distinct features was that Paul was now praying to the Lord whom He once hated and whose followers he persecuted. Paul must have been used to the religious laws on prayer and applied it. He must have prayed, very faithfully, on the third, sixth and ninth hours. Something in Paul`s way of praying must have changed for the Lord to mention the fact that Paul was praying. He must have prayed from a position of brokenness and new found passion. Paul was also in shock and must have been trying to comprehend what happened to Him. He was also blind at that stage due to the brightness of the light that struck him when Jesus appeared to him on the way to Damascus.

Ananias did not hear this sentence nor was he convinced that this meant that Paul now believed in Jesus. He went on and questioned the Lord. He reasoned with the Lord telling Him that he has heard of this brutal man called Saul. The man who was absolutely convinced that he was assisting God and purifying his religion by putting the followers of Jesus Christ in jail with the aim to let them be killed. Now Ananias heard the Lord telling him where he would find this same man and that he had to pray for him. Outrageous, he must have thought.

God`s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. This came to fruition in this instance. God chose this bold Pharisee and met Him in the most unlikely manner and changed his whole life. We hear God speaking about this new man and emphasizing the fact that he is praying – for behold, he is praying.

Ananias obediently went, found Saul and prayed for him and he was instantaneously healed and baptized by the Holy Spirit.

  • One main feature of a life changed by the Holy Spirit will be a new and deepening life of prayer and desire to be with the Lord – for behold, he is praying.
  • The second feature was that Saul, after being healed and baptized, immediately started to proclaim Jesus in the Synagogues (Acts 9: 20). The second feature of a changed life thus will be public testimony through a changed lifestyle and way of living, but also by a changed vocabulary and manner of speaking to people and dealing with them. His heart was filled with Jesus and his new lifestyle and testimony emphasized this fact. This started with his public proclamation of dying to Christ and his resurrection with Christ to a new life through the water baptism by Ananias. This also meant that he must have been cast out by his fellow Jews because of this heretic deed, to their mind, of converting to Christ and becoming His follower and believing and proclaiming that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
  • The third feature and fruit of the testimony of a changed life committed to Jesus and bold proclamation of Him, was that the church multiplied.

Thus, three characteristics of a changed life are:

  • New emphasis on prayer and passion to pray and thus being with and waiting on Jesus Christ.
  • New boldness and Spirit driven testimony and proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah
  • The multiplication of the fellowship of followers of Jesus the Messiah

When you measure your prayer life, passion and love for Jesus to these three characteristics, where do you stand in your relationship with Jesus? Do you know Jesus Christ personally? Has your spiritual life become cold and numb and lifeless?

My prayer today is in the words of David:  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6, ESV)