Fifty Days of Prayer | Day 12
Praying for Church Planting through the Book of Acts
After the episode in Samaria with Simon the magician, Philip finds himself along a dusty road between Jerusalem and Gaza. There he meets a government official from Ethiopia who had come to Jerusalem to worship (8:27). He was on his way back to Ethiopia and was reading Isaiah 53. The Spirit led Philip to run over to his chariot and begin a conversation. The eunuch would invite Philip into his chariot to discuss the passage.
In a growing city like Houston there are any number of influential and important civil leaders. But, there are also those who are influential in their neighborhoods that hold no official position. Whether they hold a title or not, we pray that the Lord would lead us to those men and women who have great influence and leadership in the city and community. Like this eunuch, we pray that they would be seeking God and that the Lord would allow our paths to cross that we might share the gospel with them. So, we pray for opportunity to befriend and share the gospel with city leaders.
After reading Isaiah 53:7-8 the eunuch asks Philip if Isaiah is referring to himself or someone else. We're told that Philip took this opportunity to tell him about Jesus (8:35). The eunuch believes the message of Christ and requests to be baptized in a nearby body of water (8:36). After baptism Philip was taken away by the Spirit to Azotus (a city directly North of Gaza). But, the eunuch continues home "rejoicing" (8:39). That simple encounter may have change the course of that African nation. He was also the first fully Gentile convert to Christianity and Philip was the first non-apostle to administer baptism.
In many cases the church is the most segregated place. But, it doesn't have to be. Acts 8 describes the church growing by both Samaritans and an Ethiopian coming to faith. The church was becoming racially diverse. It was also growing through faithful men other than the apostles. Stephen was the first martyr. Philip the first international missionary. We want our church to be a diverse body. So, we pray for the Lord to build our church as a diverse body where every member ministers freely and faithfully.