Daily reading: 21 September
God listens to your prayers.
One afternoon at about three o’clock he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius.’ He stared at him in terror and said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ He answered, ‘Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
- Acts 10, 3-4 New Revised Standard Version. Click here to read the King James Version
Reading this brought me up short: how much do I really believe that my prayers will be answered by God? It’s one thing to offer vague hopes in prayer and quite another to encounter an angel.
Cornelius is not one of those people who pray in the expectation that they will get all they want from God, and nor is he someone who claims to have a hotline to the Almighty.
He prays because it is natural for him to give praise and be guided by God. So no wonder that, despite being a soldier, he is terrified!
Spend time in preparing for prayer in the same way that we might prepare for meeting up with a long-lost friend, or an important conversation at work.
Let’s approach prayer expecting God to be listening and responding. It might help to write down in a prayer journal how we are feeling before praying and the things we want to bring before God.
Alternatively, take one of the accounts of Jesus in conversation with another person in one of the gospels, and place yourself in that scene. How do I visualise Jesus as I talk; what does he say in response?
Lord Jesus, you long for us to be real with you; to leave behind the mask we put on to the rest of the world; to dispense with the churchy-image I may have. Help me to meet you in prayer coming just as I am, knowing that this is all I need to do and to be ready to hear your word afresh in my life.
Today's contributor is the Rev James Hutchings, former Mission Resources Adviser for the Anglican Diocese of Exeter, now Team Rector at Littleham-cum-Exmouth.
Published on 21 September 2017