Fifty Days of Prayer | Day 31

PRAYING FOR CHURCH PLANTING THROUGH THE BOOK OF ACTS

Paul would leave Athens for Corinth. It was a cosmopolitan Greek city influenced by its status as a Roman colony and a major trade port between the Western Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. This created a pluralistic culture filled with religions and cultures of every type and combination. There he meets a Jewish couple named Priscilla and Aquila. They would become key leaders in Paul's ministry (Acts 18:18, 26; Rom 16:3-4; 1 Cor 16:19; 2 Tim 4:19). Priscilla and Aquila would share in both his ministry and vocation (1 Cor 9:1-18). So we pray for faithful fellow workers to serve alongside us as partners in our church planting ministry.

During this second missionary journey Luke tells us that Paul "reasoned in the synagogue" (Acts 17:2, 17; 18:4, 19; 19:8). It is his preferred term to describe Paul's ministry among the Jews during this missions trip. On some occasions they believed. On others some believed and others didn't. In Corinth we're told that they "opposed and reviled him" (18:6). So he left for the house of the man responsible for keeping order among the Jews, Titius Justus. Along with the leader of the synagogue and his family, they all believed Paul's message. So we pray for families to come to faith in our neighborhood and join the church.

Paul would say in Corinth for a year and a half "teaching the word of God among them" (18:11). The reason for his stay was a vision from the Lord. Luke tells us that God spoke to Paul giving him a command, an assurance, and a prophecy. The command was: "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent" (18:9). God wanted him to continue he teaching ministry despite the initial Jewish opposition. Paul was assured "I am with you...I have many in this city who are my people" (18:10). Before Jesus ascended to Heaven he gave the assurance "I am with you always even to the end of the age" (Matt 28:20). The Father knows we often need reassurance of his presence with us. He also tells Paul that "no one will attack you to harm you" (18:10b). This vision lead to Paul's eighteen month ministry in Corinth. So we pray for visions from the Lord that reassure, direct, and produce faithful ministry in our neighborhood.

Corinth was located in region known as Achaia. The proconsul (governor) was a man named Gallio. While Judaism was an accepted religion in Rome, they still were required to appeal to the governing authorities before bringing a final judgment against another. The Jews that opposed Paul earlier would attempt to bring a case against him to Gallio. But before "Paul was about to open his mouth" (18:14) Gallio shuts down the proceeding. The governing authorities (who had no sympathy with Paul or Christians) protected the church from religious opposition. So we pray for favor with local, city, and state government that would protect us from any opposition.

After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” And he drove them from the tribunal. And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.
— Acts 18:1-17