In one of my Facebook groups, as some of you know, I went through the Book of Acts. I love going through that book again and again. It is the story of The Church’s beginnings — the roots and ancestry of our Beloved Brotherhood of Believers.
One of the stories in the book talks about two peoples. One person was named Ananias. He was a disciple who loved the True God and the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said, “I want you to go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. Lay hands on him and restore his sight.”
Now you may not know this, but Ananias was well aware who Saul was. Saul had quite a reputation, and Ananias realized this was going to be dangerous. So how did the Holy Spirit convince Ananias to go to Saul? He said: “He is praying . . .” (Acts 9:11). Huh? Are you kidding me? No, really. In fact, I love the way King Jim puts it: “Behold, he prayeth.” It makes it sound so much more significant.
To me, that is significant. The Lord was saying, “Ananias, you will find him on his knees. He knows you are coming. He even knows your name, and why you are being sent to him. He wants his eyes opened, so he will listen to whatever you say to him.”
What a way to be introduced to someone? I mean this is all new stuff for both of them! The Spirit of God called out to Ananias, “Yo!” Ananias says, “Huh?” Then you have Saul, a guy who had been persecuting — arresting and putting on trial — people for believing in some dead guy. Suddenly a bright light knocks him off his horse and blinds him. That alone would freak anyone out.
Then, when he is on his knees asking the God he thought he was serving, to help him understand it all, and the Holy Spirit says, “Okay, someone named Ananias is coming to heal your blindness . . .” That is either good staging or just plain peculiar!
Tell me, when did Saul receive this revelation, this inner knowledge, this inner witness? How did he receive this vision, this Word from God? Well, amazingly it came through fervent, I would say, intense prayer and supplication. In fact, I believe the Spirit’s words to Ananias reveal what moved God’s heart about Saul: “Behold, he is praying.”
The ninth chapter tells us that after Saul’s experience on the road, he was shut in with God for three days, and ate nothing, nor drank anything. All he wanted were answers, and the only place he knew to look was with the Lord! So he continued on his knees that whole time, praying and seeking God. Now seriously, if you experienced everything Saul had just experienced, wouldn’t you spend all that time in prayer?
I had a pastor who taught us, “God always makes a way for a praying man.” In my own life, the Lord has provided indisputable evidence of this. In 1979, when I first came to the Lord, I wept and prayed, “Fill me, Lord Jesus.” Over the years since that time, the Spirit of God has visited me in divine intensity.
As a new believer I had a deep hunger in me that caused me to pray diligently. Something in my heart told me, “There is more to serving Jesus than what you are doing.” So I spent months on my knees—weeping and praying for hours at a time. I will be honest, I still ask my Lord to open His heart to me; to open His intentions and desires to me. I never want to be a stranger to His presence.
Those times when I have indeed heard from my Father — when I received revelation of my Lord, any measure of the mind of Christ — it wasn’t just through Bible study alone. It came through prayer. It came from seeking my God in the secret place.
So my belief is simple: if you want the same, you better spend more time in prayer. Hey, those of you involved in ministry, Jipu, Miles, David, Cameron, Steve, Jeremy . . . whoever you are, and no matter what task you have been called to, you have no other options. If you want to fulfill what the Lord has called you to do: Pray.
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.