For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 9:9-16 NIV
I need to confess that our passage in Acts 9 convicts me on the topic of prayer. Luke tells us that Saul fasted for 3 days and prayed after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus. Ananias had a vision and a conversation with God about Saul of Tarsus. Ananias clearly expressed to God his reluctance to go talk with Saul who, “was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples,” Acts 9:1. Both the newly converted Saul and the faithful disciple Ananias made prayer a priority, took it seriously, and spent considerable time praying. I confess, for much of my life, prayer has not been a priority. Is prayer a priority for you?
In looking back at the previous passages we have studied in Acts Luke tells us that the believers did take prayer seriously. We are told, “they all joined together constantly in prayer,” Acts 2:14. Often Luke mentions the believers praying as a part of their daily life, (Acts 2:24, 31, 42, 6:4). Many of these situations involved either praying before making an important decision, or during a difficult or dangerous situation. I don’t know about you, but for me, prayer has not always been the first thing I do in a crisis. Yet this is what we observe in both Saul and Ananias.
If we look at key situations in Jesus’ life in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus prayed at his Baptism (Luke 3:21), all night before choosing his disciples (Luke 6:12), at the time of his transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29), and of course in Gethsemane – immediately prior to his arrest and crucifixion (Luke 22:41-45). Jesus, the sinless Son of God, who was fully God and fully man, made prayer a priority. I have to conclude – if Jesus needed regular, and sometimes extended, times of prayer with his Father, while he was here on earth then I must need to do the same. Do you agree?
For me, I had to discover a method and plan for prayer. Walking and praying and using a prayer journal to organize requests has helped me. Spend time praying in a different way this week. Try: walking and praying, designating a prayer room or area, using a journal to organize requests and answers, praying with a friend, or praying scripture for yourself or for another person. Psalms work well or Ephesians 1:17-20 or Ephesians 3:16-21.
By Grace Hunter