Fifty Days of Prayer | Day 12

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.

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, aeunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
— Acts 8:26-40