Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SEEKING THE FACE OF THE LORD

The book of Acts is the account of holy men and women seeking the Lord’s face. From beginning to end, it tells of how prayer moves God. Whether in the Upper Room, in prisons, in some secret house hiding from authorities, or in Simon’s house on a street called Straight— they prayed! In the morning and sometimes all night, they prayed without ceasing. Cornelius prayed always and Peter prayed on rooftops. By the seashore, in the temple, or in the desert, they called upon the Lord continually. They spent hours and days shut in with God, until they received dear, detailed guidance. And what incredible specifics God gave them.

Ananias was a man of God, a disciple given to prayer. “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight” (Acts 9:10-12).

Listen to the detailed instructions God gave him; He named the very house, the householder's name, and the man he was to pray for. Then God said, “He knows you are coming; he even knows your name. And he knows what you will do when you walk into his room, because I told him everything!” Why did the Lord tell this new convert such intimate details? Because he prayed! For three days Saul fasted and prayed. It was not, “Lord, what can You do for me?” Rather, it was, “Lord, what will You have me to do?”

Had Saul been saved in our time, he would have been caught up in our world of hype with a media blitz, a best-selling book, and invitations to give his testimony to churches everywhere. Like Saul, many are miraculously saved but, unlike him, they are soon living in confusion, not knowing what to do. God said to Saul, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6). God was saying, “Go pray! Seek My face and learn to wait on Me.” No direction came until he had spent three days in prayer. But something powerful happened during prayer: Saul got to know the Lord’s voice and learned to depend on His leading. Although just a newborn believer, he was already being clearly led by God. He needed no counselor or prophet to show him what to do; he needed no one to give him a word of knowledge. Why? Because the Lord said, “I will show him” (Acts 9:16).