Bowie Apostolic Church
Acts 16: A Place of Prayer
by From the Pastor's Desk on February 16th, 2013

Find Your Place of Prayer

Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. 
In this chapter we see that it is through prayer that Paul and his fellow ministers received direction from the Holy Spirit about where the Kingdom would take him next. He had places in mind that seemed like the right direction, but the Spirit of God forbade them from doing so. Finally, in a vision he sees a man from Macedonia calling him to come and help them. This is the awesome, specific direction that we all long to receive from God. How do we receive it? Through a submitted life that is in the will of God and in constant communication with Him.

It is through prayer that we stay in contact with the Transcendent Glory of God. In His Glory we receive peace, comfort, direction and rebuke. It is good for us to always seek for that place of prayer. The way the apostles evangelized the different nations was to always look for a place of prayer or worship in the city. Many times this place would be a synagogue where they would introduce the congregants to the one true Hope of Israel, Jesus Christ.

In the passage above we see that the disciples also found out about the place of prayer in the Macedonian city of Philippi. In this case, the place of prayer was down by the riverside. In ancient times, since water was an essential part of the household, it was usually the responsibility of the women of the house to go to the source of water (just like Jesus met the woman at the well in John 4) every day. This is the reason that when they arrived, they ran into a group of women who had come together. One of these women is notable in scripture. Lydia was a worshipper of God and a business woman. This is not uncommon in Roman society. Philippi was a Roman colony and in many ways it was a miniature version of Rome, including culture.

There are two aspects of this Lady that are worth pointing out. First, the bible says that “The Lord opened her heart. (verse 14)”   Is this not what we want God to do to all of the people we minister to? When we find our personal place of prayer, God will give us direction where to go and who to talk to. Paul once called this a “door of utterance. (Colossians 4:3)” The second thing that is notable about this woman is her willingness to open up her home to the apostles. This is important because the way the apostles set up operations in ministry was through the homes of converts. This new convert was well to do from her business (being “a seller of purple goods” means she was a seller of luxury items. She was also full of zeal and love for God. She is described as a worshipper of God even before her conversion. Her offer to them to stay in her home was an offering of her home to be a base of ministry in the city. We are grateful for those who are willing to open up their homes for ministry. The CARE Ministry (ChArity Reaching out to Everyone) is patterned after this spirit of sacrifice.

This chapter is the first time we meet a young man named Timothy. He was of good reputation in his native town of Lystra. Paul saw fit to make him a travelling companion and ministry worker. Timothy would become Paul’s successor in Ephesus (1 and 2 Timothy were delivered to him in Ephesus) and would be considered (along with Titus) Paul’s son in the gospel.

They went to the place of prayer more than once. On one particular occasion, however, there was a different type of woman there. Leave it up to the power of evil to get in the way of you finding your personal place of prayer. In the apostles’ case, they were harassed by a slave girl who had a demonic possession that enabled her to do fortune-telling. The bible says we must worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This woman called them “servants of the Most High God.” This definitely was the truth, but it was in the wrong spirit. When Paul was sufficiently annoyed with her display, he showed to us that not only do disciples have the authority to heal in Jesus Name, but we also have power over evil spirits by the same authority (Matthew 10:1). Never forget that the Name of Jesus is upon us and there is nothing that can overcome us when we stay in Christ.


Posted in Acts, Bible 2013    Tagged with power, Paul, Timothy, Philippi


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