Today’s thought “Your prayers … ascended as a memorial” (May 2)

“Your prayers … ascended as a memorial”

Today in reading Acts 10 we saw how Peter had his eyes opened to realise that non-Jews (Gentiles) had been called to repentance and belief in salvation through Christ. In verse 2 we read of a man named Cornelius – a Centurion who was “a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously … and prayed continually to God”.

God sent an angel to him but Cornelius “stared at him in terror” (verse 4) and we paused to ponder about our reaction when God “will send out the angels and gather his elect” (Mark 13:27) remembering that Jesus further said concerning,

“that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (verse 32).

Surely this is a matter for our earnest prayer, Cornelius sets us an awesome example.

Cornelius is told

“your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God”,

so he is known to God both for his prayers and his generosity in giving to the needy – we note how they are described as a “memorial”. How interesting this is – and how challenging! What do we say and do that ascends to God as a memorial?

Peter experiences a remarkable vision to prepare his mind for meeting with Cornelius so that when he arrives he is ready to witness to him. Peter declares:

“Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him … the word that he sent … preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all) …” (verses 34-36).

There follows what is obviously a brief summary of Peter’s message about the teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus and how Jesus

“commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead” and “that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (verse 43).

Then Peter is left in no doubt as to the will of God for

“while Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard” (verse 44).

This leads Peter to declare,

“Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (verses 47,48).

This was the outcome of sincere prayer; may our prayers ascend as a memorial to God – as a testimony to our faith in his word which we read and meditate on every day.

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Preceding

Today’s thought “We are witnesses of all that he did” (May 02)

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