“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, ‘Cornelius.’ And he stared at him in terror and said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ And he said to him, ‘Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.’ When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
“The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray… He fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.’ And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
“Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.’” Acts 10:1-20
Magnificent things happen when we pray. Truth is unveiled, motivations warm and transform, directions unfold, movements begin. The end result in this chapter is that the gospel broke open upon the Gentiles, and many were saved, yet Peter’s powerful speech and the marvelous ingathering of new believers began in quiet contemplation by two earnest men. (Acts 10:24,34-45)
We will never know what would have happened, or been missed, had these men not prayed, and listened, and pondered. Certainly God’s purpose goes forth, but we are the ones who miss out when we fail to contemplate it, and how He might involve us.
Do we see the importance of a regular time of prayer, of getting quiet, alone, and undistracted to meet with God? If we have little desire, would we ask to be willing to be made willing? If we find no words, would we read a passage from His word and listen? When we begin, in the obedience of faith, He appears and leads us in and on.
Imagine what He has in store for each of us in His kingdom work! (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Father, please make me eager to begin each day with You, and to converse through its hours. May pondering grow to wonder, worship, and glad walking in Your ways for the spread of Your grace and glory.