You can pray! (continued)

You might be the instrument of the answer to prayer (Acts 10:1- 11:18)

You might be the answer to someone else’s prayers or cries to God. This was a revelation for me. I was reading Acts 10 and 11 – Two men prayed, maybe because of different motivations and convictions. God answers prayer.

Let`s start with Cornelius, a pagan centurion. He was seeking the real God.  a Deep longing to worship the real God was the cry of his heart. He, then, adopted and followed the customs of the people which land they occupied and ruled over at that stage in time. He observed the religion of the Jews and found that prayer was central in their worshipping of Yahweh, the God of the covenant, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. One custom was to pray three main times a day – the third hour or nine o` clock in the morning, the sixth hour or twelve o` clock, midday and the ninth hour or three o` clock in the afternoon.

Cornelius was praying at three o` clock in the afternoon when an angel of God appeared to him and said: “”Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.” (Acts 10:4 ESV). After this announcement, the angel gave him exact directions on what to do next. Cornelius believed the angel and ordered two of his servants and a devout soldier to go to Joppa and find Peter who was staying with Simon the tanner. God, thus, already answered his prayer. Someone else had to be the instrument in the hand of God to fully answer Cornelius` prayer though. What happened next?

About 80 kilometers to the south of Caesarea was Joppa. Twenty-one hours after God had answered Cornelius` prayer, Peter went to the roof of the house to be alone with God and to pray. He was a devout disciple and follower of Jesus, his Messiah. He knew from childhood that there were set times of prayer he had to adhere to. He also followed and was taught by Jesus how to pray and realized the importance of prayer.

What happened next, totally changed Peter`s religious and prayer life. a Hair-raising vision followed. For a Jew to be confronted by unclean animals and hear the command to eat must have been a nightmare. God used it to prepare him for his mission to go to a non-Jew with the consequence of being defiled and becoming unclean himself, according to tradition. The Holy Spirit though spoke to Peter and instructed him to accompany three men without hesitation.

This was a tremendous transformation in Peter`s mindset. He had to crucify his total belief system and prejudice towards non-Jews.  He Honoured and obeyed God and invited these men to spend the night. They left for Caesarea the following morning.

The outcome of Cornelius` prayer, Peter`s transformation of mind and obedience was that the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and everyone in the household. Everyone accepted the gospel message and believed in Jesus Christ. They were baptized by the Holy Spirit and was baptized with water as a testimony of them being followers of Jesus Christ.

In the second chapter of Acts the Holy Spirit fell on Jewish followers of Jesus. In Acts 10 the Holy Spirit, for the first time, fell on non-Jews. The obedience of Peter paved the way for you and me, non-Jews, to be able to accept Jesus as our Lord and saviour also, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and we have the privilege to testify of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through the water baptism.

Two men: The first, Cornelius, prayed and cried out because of a deep longing to worship the only living God. He prayed and God immediately answered. The other man, Peter, was devout to prayer. The instrument to Cornelius` answer to prayer was Peter. Twenty-one hours later while praying Peter had a lifechanging encounter with the Lord. This was a miracle. Peter`s life and the way he believed was totally transformed.

Very important!

  • You might be the answer to someone else`s desperate call to God – but you need to pray.
  • God can raise someone else to be the answer to your prayer – but you need to pray.

Scripture to reflect on

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, (Isa 62:6, ESV)

And I sought a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. (Ezek. 22:30, AMP)

Pray without ceasing, (1Th 5:17, ESV)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (Jas 4:8, ESV)