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How Praying Can Direct Your Life

A first century doctor provides a case study on prayer in the book of Acts.  Luke also served as a historian, traveling along side of the apostle Paul to document each missionary journey.  In the chapter below, Luke interviews a man named Cornelius and Peter about a special God instance.  Before meeting one another, each man prayed to God within a 24 hour period.  What takes place in the passage below illustrates how praying can direct your life.

About the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.) of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had come to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius was frightened and stared intently at him and said, “What is it, lord (sir)?” And the angel said to him, “Your prayers and gifts of charity have ascended as a memorial offering before God [an offering made in remembrance of His past blessings], Acts 10:3-4.

A centurion from an Italian Regiment is described as God fearing.  This reverence for God resulted in a devout faith; becoming a family man.  Cornelius earned a reputation for being a charitable man, giving donations to Jews and known as a prayer warrior.  Apparently, praying in the afternoon was a daily habit, resulting in a vision involving an angel from God.  This encounter results in a series of directions which Cornelius acts upon and follows.

The next day, as they were on their way and were approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof of the house about the sixth hour (noon) to pray, 10 but he became hungry and wanted something to eat. While the meal was being prepared he fell into a trance; 11 and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet descending, lowered by its four corners to the earth, 12 and it contained all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” – Acts 10:9-13.

Meanwhile, 21 hours later God begins to move within Peter as he prays to the Lord.  During a conversation with Luke, Peter describes his experience to a trance.  The hunger within his stomach sets the stage for a teachable moment for Peter.  Initially, Peter rejects God’s message which is contrary to the law of Moses.  However, after God repeats himself a second time, Peter agrees to be open to this new teaching.  Thus, prayer gave a non-Jew in Cornelius hope while changing the heart of Peter to accept future Gentiles, non Jews.  If God can speak to two praying individuals, then image what God can do when communities pour their hearts out to God in prayer.

by Jay Mankus

Just Say the Word

Anyone familiar with life in the military knows that talking back to a higher ranking officer isn’t an option.  The chain of command plays a vital role in the day to day operations of any unit.  When given a direct command by one of your superiors, you do it.  There isn’t a choice of deciding which ones to follow and which to ignore.  The goal of any recruit is to do your job.

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it,” Matthew 8:8-9.

One day a centurion approached Jesus, referencing his military background.  After listening to this Roman leader, Jesus simply responds, “what do you want me to do.”  Understanding the importance of Jesus’ time, all this centurion wanted was a word of assurance.  You don’t have to come physically to lay hands on my servant, rather “just say the word” and it will be done.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith, Matthew 8:10.

Every once in a while, individuals receive recognition from someone famous.  This may be in the form of a compliment or recommendation.  In some circumstances this may not mean much, but when Jesus, the Son of God tells a crowd “I have not found anyone in Israel with faith like this,” this is a big deal.  This passage reminds anyone who reads it if you want to demonstrate faith, you must reach a point in your life where you completely trust God.  When you arrive, just say the word and healing will follow.

by Jay Mankus

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