The Holy Ghost came to Ananias, a godly man living in Damascus. The Spirit instructed him to go to Judas’ house on Straight Street, lay hands on Saul, and restore his sight. Of course, Ananias knew of Saul’s reputation. Yet, here is how the Holy Spirit recommended Saul to Ananias: “Behold, he prayeth” (Acts 9:11).
The Lord was saying, in essence, “Ananias, you will find this man on his knees. He knows you are coming; in fact, he even knows your name, and why you’re being sent to him. And he wants his eyes opened.”
When did Saul receive this inner knowing? How did he receive this vision, this pure word from God? It came through fervent praying and supplication. In fact, I believe the Spirit’s words to Ananias reveal what moved God’s heart about Saul: “Behold, he prayeth.”
Saul had been shut in with God for three days, refusing all food and water. All he wanted was the Lord, so he stayed on his knees all that time, praying and seeking God.
When I was growing up, my preacher father taught me, “God always makes a way for a praying man.” There have been periods in my life when the Lord provided indisputable evidence of this. As a young pastor in Pennsylvania, a deep hunger rose up in me that caused me to pray diligently. Something in my heart told me, “There’s more to serving Jesus than what I’m doing. Oh, Lord, I can’t live so far beneath what I read in Your Word. I’d rather die than live as selfishly as I have.”
So I spent months on my knees—weeping and praying for hours at a time—when finally the Lord called me to go to New York City to minister to gangs and drug addicts. That was several decades ago.
I also was on my knees seeking God with tears and loud crying when he called me back to New York to start a church in Times Square. Once again, the Lord said, “David. I want you to have My mind, My concerns.”
If I have ever heard from God, it did not come through Bible study alone. It came through prayer—seeking God alone. If there is any visible measure of Christ in me, it is because of spending time with Him in the secret place.