But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8 NLT
Like a compass needle locates due north, so prayer directs our gaze towards God and positions us for effective mission. While prayer consists of a number of distinct forms, from confession through to contemplation, it is always our voluntary response to the call of God.
The disciples are about to exchange the visible presence of God in Jesus for the invisible, yet equally real, presence of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
Yet, even this gift is dependent upon obedience to Jesus’ command and a period of prayer. In an age in which we have grown accustomed to instant answers and products accessible online for next-day delivery, the process of prayer can seem somewhat antiquated. Yet, like a fine meal, prayer is the means by which we are prepared for God’s response to our prayer. This may emerge in a different guise to that which we’d imagined. Prayer prepares us to be positioned as a means for the realisation of God’s will on earth.
So, the disciples are to wait and pray. Despite their many questions, the disciples had learned that Jesus was to be taken at his word and practised obedience. Setting my questions on one side and happily pursuing God with only the light of God’s invitation to obedience to guide me has proven difficult. This is perhaps best illustrated in the actions of Adam and Eve in failing to obey God and following the deception of Satan.
Obedience sounds simple, and is most certainly going to be your best intention. Yet, be aware that Satan waits to test your resolve and often says, “Has God said?” (Genesis 3:1) In such moments your choice is conflicted. Obedience demands you make what might appear an unreasonable choice, yet this alone will ensure God’s mission is realised in and through your life.
What has God asked you to do?
May I, like your disciples, be obedient to your instructions, Lord, even when they seem strange or unreasonable, today and always.