“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said The Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And The Lord said unto him, Arise, and go unto the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.”
The story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to the Apostle Paul is well chronicled. It’s a fascinating account of the mercy, grace and compassion of God. Instead of killing the man responsible for wrecking havoc on the church, God instead reaches for his heart in an attempt to save his soul. This lets me know that it doesn’t matter where I’ve been, what I’ve done or where I’ve come from; God’s love is still reaching for me! Be encouraged friend, regardless of your plight in life, God still loves you! This story is of a man who is traveling down a road to Damascus, searching for even more power and influence; and is interrupted by Jesus along the way. I call this Mercy’s Intercession. How many times have you and I been traveling down the wrong road in life only to be blindsided by tragedy or hardships. In the moment we can’t see what’s just happened, but days, even weeks later you realize if it had not been for that moment; my soul might be lost! Where would we be today if it wasn’t for Mercy’s Intercession? What a beautiful revelation about the mercy of God!
But the part of this story that catches my attention doesn’t deal with the event described above; but it deals with the passage I opened this blog up with. Ananias is minding his own business, when all of a sudden God begins to speak to him. And I can almost imagine the look of his face as God tells him of what his mission involves. Seriously God? You want me to go look for Saul of Tarsus? You do know who this is right? I mean he’s made a reputation for himself for his abuse and destruction of Christians! But noticed the words of Jesus here, he speaks to Ananias to go to the house of Judas and to enquire of Saul of Tarsus. Why? Becuase he’s praying…
There is something powerful about prayer that reaches beyond the routine of “Apostolic Prayer”. We’re all guilty of this, we recite cliche’ after cliche’ loud enough to impress the people around us. But sincere prayer flows from your heart. And when sincere prayer is released God always responds! Recently my wife and I traveled to Lufkin to pick our kids up from my sister-in-law. We went to church with them that evening, and they asked me to testify. So I went through my notes and bookmarks in my Bible, and I found something I thought would go over good. As the worship began however, God began to speak into my heart. He showed me the face of a young lady who was in the service, and told me exactly what to say. I began to not just speak planned out words, but began to speak words of life! Not of myself but as God moved through me. I don’t use this story to build myself up, I was simply the vessel God used that night; the incredible part is the young lady who influenced God! We’ve all been in those moments of need, and have had people in our local church or our pastor speak to us, but we can sometimes write that off as inside information. But when God moves on somebody you don’t know, from a town you don’t live in to come the night you need a word; you’ve got influence! As God was showing me her face and revealing to me what to speak, I knew in my spirit, this girl has been praying! And the sincerity of her prayers were influencing the entire service! What a testament of faith! Never discount the power of sincere prayer!!
The text in Acts 9 reveals this principle. Saul without the Holy Ghost, without being baptized in Jesus Name, without having had time to prove himself as changed; influenced the God of glory with his prayer! It’s recorded that Saul spent 3 days alone; blind and hungry in the desert. I don’t know how long it would’ve taken for him to find Ananias on his own, but what I do know is that the moment that wretched man (his words) tapped into this dimension of sincere prayer, he didn’t have to go looking for the man of God, the man of God came looking for him!!!
I don’t know what your battling, or what kind of challenges you face; I don’t know how long you’ve been searching for a word from God, but I do know this, If you can tap into this dimension of prayer, that word of God will find you wherever you may be! Because God is always influenced by sincere prayer!