What is God's Mission-Part 7
Map of Northern New England
My First Vision
I was praying compline (or bedtime prayer as part of daily prayers, praying morning, noon, evening, and bedtime) with a friend of mine in Madison, WI while at an InterVarsity staff conference. We were in a time of silence before moving on to the ending prayer. I saw a map of Maine that was on fire and it stayed on fire. Then that fire spread across the country going southwest. It was powerful and I had the sense that God was telling me that revival was coming. I was told not to share anything about that vision until it was the right time.
Every other vision I have had since that first one has one thing in common. They all happened when I was praying or otherwise seeking Him. Since then, God hasn't always shared a vision with me specifically, every time when I’m praying, but still, visions just don’t come out of the blue. For me, I find that they come, most of the time, when I’m seeking God for wisdom or when I’m open to hearing from Him. And I always hear from Him - sooner or later.
Take a moment and open up your Bible to Acts 10. You find Cornelius praying and hearing God telling him to seek out Peter. Then in vs 9, we see that Peter is praying on the rooftop (he was probably doing a noon time prayer). Did you catch that? Peter was praying and then he fell into a trance and had a vision. Cornelius was praying and then he heard from God to go and see Peter. Two examples of people praying and then God speaking to them.
The vision that Peter had involved unclean animals (based on Jewish law and tradition) and him being commanded to kill and eat. Peter refuses but this happens three times. When the vision was over, men from Cornelius house arrives to see Peter. Peter goes with them because God is speaking to Peter about what he is to do next. What is next in the story of God involves reaching the Gentiles. No longer is the Messiah for Jews only.
Worship the God of the World
Ends of the World
If you remember back to Acts 1.8, the disciples are called to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the world. Well, the end of the world has arrived. Pilgrim Jews from all over then come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Harvest, Feast of Weeks or First Fruits on the day of Pentecost. Guess what? The Disciples had been praying for this.
Peter get’s to be the vehicle here in Acts 10. The Gentiles are now hearing about God! The rest of Acts is about the mission of God going forth to the Gentiles. From here, we will read about the church in Antioch, Paul’s conversion (Apostle to the Gentiles), Paul’s missionary journeys, and Gentiles joining the mission - to the “ends of the earth”. It is a great read. Talk about revival!
If you remember anything from this hub, remember this. It all starts with prayer. In Acts 10 it was the prayer of Cornelius and then the prayer of Peter. Cornelius was a God fearing Gentile and Peter a Jew on mission for his Messiah. Both of them prayed and both of them heard from God. Isn’t that amazing? God was speaking to both of them about the same thing, opening the door to more Gentiles believing, including us.
Peter Shares Jesus with Gentiles
There are two ways we need to respond to this. The first is prayer. We don’t know what Peter and Cornelius were praying about at the time - all we know is that they were praying. This speaks to the importance of spending time with God. Find ways that work for you to spend time with Him. I also suggest to have a list of requests. Or maybe just spend time reading the Bible. You can also use a prayer book that has morning, noon, evening, and compline prayer. If you do this, God will speak to you - will you be listening?
The second response is to be open to what God is doing. God WILL speak to you, IF you are open. In my next hub I will go further into how God speaks to us in general and in other specific ways. In this account Peter was challenged to go in a direction that he was not prepared go. God might just have you do the same thing. That’s why prayer is so important - the more you are connected to God, the easier your situations will be. Peter was able to obey because he was connected to God.
Cornelius Hears from an Angel
In conclusion, we need to pray and be open to God. God wants to work through you to save those around you. You have to be connected with God and that takes prayer. Prayer and being open to God.
So, while you are waiting for my next hub, I say pray, pray, and pray. Early and often.