Do Ya Have a Place?
I'm askin - do ya have a place of prayer?
"Yeah, I do," she said, "at my kitchen table, every morning."
"Yeah, I do," he said. "I pray with a bunch of guys-my brothers--people I trust."
Well, which is it? Is a place of prayer the place you privately pray, or is it the place you go when you have cares - great or small - to be surrounded by people of faith who will hold you close and pray with you?
Yes. It is one. It is the other. It is both.
First, our text from the book of Acts:
We left the missionary team of Paul, Silas, and Timothy heading into Europe with the gospel message of Jesus Christ; let's look a little closer...
Luke adds some notes to what feels like a travel log, "From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia1. And we stayed there several days.2 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer.
We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us."3
There are several things that call to me from these verses, but mostly this,
-->The guys went out, expecting to find a PLACE OF PRAYER . . .
Their expectation really speaks to me. In this case, the ladies lacked a quorum, (at least 10 adult Jewish men), ergo. . . no synagogue. The faithful had to meet under the open sky near a river or sea. And so they did.
A place of prayer. How does that translate to today, how does it translate to you and me? Yesterday, I had my weekly conference call prayer meeting with my corporate guys. One of the 'brothers' texted ahead of time, 'can't be on the call, in a meeting; but can you guys pray for me for ____'? Why? Because we are his place of prayer.
Similarly, today my beautiful Women of Passion4 gathered together, and the music had barely started when my lovely, tall, lean Emma stepped back toward me and whispered with cupped hands, 'Do you think we could pray for my friend? She has four young children, ovarian cancer, and her chemo is failing.' Why did she ask me such a thing? She knows that we are a place of prayer.
Heck, why did the corporate brother ask for prayer from his brothers on the conference call? He knows we are a place of prayer.
Lydia and the gals on the banks of the river represented a place and a people of prayer, a marriage of the two. On a corporate conference call prayer meeting, the marriage of mechanism and people. An intersection of faith, hope, and context.
Life is not easy. We need God ... and to access him, we need to pray, we need to talk to him. Actually sometimes, depending on the severity of our need, we need to cry out to him. There is no other way. We need people of Christian faith who believe along with us and are willing to contend for us in prayer.
Do not do this thing called 'life' alone. In Georgia, are you? Find a place of prayer! 0ne of my Zimbabwe friends? A coup is afoot, you must gather with other believers and pray! Living in East Jerusalem? You must find other followers of Yeshua and pray!
And from across our globe, to 132 countries, once within your hallowed walls - do ya have a place you can pray, gather your wits about you and talk to God? You must get intentional. Create a place. Pray. And ... also find a place of faith-filled folk who will pray with and for you, won't you?
2 - The ruins of Philippi are near modern Kavalla in northern Greece. It was then a city of Macedonia founded by Philip, the father of Alexander the Great. A Roman colony and military centre, governed directly from Rome, Philippi was situated on the Via Egnatian, the highway running east and west linking Rome to Byzantium (Istanbul) 'Too much detail? For me, I like to know how the ancient translates to the modern-day map
3 - 1 - Acts 16.12-15
4 - Women of Passion is a community of women who gather from So. Orange County, California, year-round, to study God's Word, friendship and growth.