photograph by VIJAY RICHHIYA on pixahive

Acts 10:1–8 ‘Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, ”Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”’ (v4)

I’ve frequently been asked by those who are not disciples if they can pray to God. Here we have a wonderful story for all our encouragement. A godly Gentile is commended by God’s messenger for his prayer and his generosity. God’s intention is that all should have the opportunity to receive the good news message of salvation (John 3:16). Often the journey starts with a prayer. I certainly prayed years before I was a Christian. Part as an insurance policy, and in part through superstition – just in case. No doubt these prayers, despite my life being far from devout, provided the crumbs with which the Spirit started His work of drawing me into friendship with God. God will work with whatever threads we offer and begin to weave our salvation story. 

It is also interesting to note that Cornelius did not come to God, but God came to him; first with an angelic visit and then one from the apostle Peter. Peter is the rock upon which Jesus declared the Church would be built. Here the Church is missional, i.e. open to be sent rather than static, and seeking ways to draw the seekers into its orbit. Just as Jesus came in search of us, sent by His Father, so we are to go out to those who at present have no commitment to God’s ways and be prepared to answer their questions and offer our prayer. The Church must always be in search of those who have lost their way.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Ps. 25:1–7; 66:8–20; Luke 15:1–10; Acts 2:38–47.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Uncertain if God will hear your prayer? Offer it to God in sincerity and call out for His grace.

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, ‘turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted’. Amen.’ (Ps. 25:16)

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.