Our congregation is studying prayer for the month. Well studying, practicing, and reflecting upon prayer and its role in our lives. As I read my daily scripture this morning the Holy Spirit highlighted a verse for me that I would like to share. Acts 13:27, For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. It’s about how despite gathering together weekly as the people of God they missed Him when he was present and they killed him.
On one level this needed to happen so that the salvation story could take place. On another level, it strikes me as sad that they were God-honoring and worshiping people and they missed the boat, so to speak, and turned violent. It is also worrisome because beyond the shadow of a doubt it could happen to us. Nay, it has happened to us if we define us as the church more broadly which has far too many faults and guilts to list in one place. Closer to home, we too could find ourselves among those nominally faithful people who cannot recognize God as God despite our well intentions and our years of church involvement.
It feels like the Holy Spirit is reminding me of an excellent argument for prayer.
In prayer we come to know God, we come to learn his voice, like Jesus said his sheep know his voice. This happens through prayer. It might happen through study, daily reading, small groups, or even Sunday worship, but the warning of this passage is that people who participate in all those are still likely to fail to recognize Jesus when it matters.
As we study prayer, as we practice prayer. I encourage to listen for His voice, see if you can get to know it, to recognize it as you do a loved one’s.