At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a
centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing;
he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. (Acts 10:1-2)
In today’s lectionary reading, Cornelius, an Italian centurion, is described as “God-fearing.” There is much scholarly debate as to what it meant that Cornelius was a “God-fearer.” But for some reason Cornelius was attracted to the Jewish ethics, theology, and worship. He participated and lived his life as a faithful Jew. As an “outsider,” he was labeled as a God fearer that included practices of generosity and prayer. As a person of prayer, he was noted to practice the regular traditional Jewish prayer times. (v. 30)
I am struck at how Cornelius was labeled a person of prayer. What would it take to raise the bar of my own prayer life? Time!!!! You have seen the statistics that only 80% of pastors pray less than 15 minutes a day. I have tried to practice the disciple of making my life a continual offering of prayer throughout my day, but often my thoughts are centered around the issues at hand. I wonder what it would look like if Presbyterians were known to be people of prayer.
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (Luke 10:2)
A vibrant connection with God through prayer is essential to many aspects of healthy vibrant ministry. In prayer, we are confirmed of God calling upon our lives. In prayer, we pray for the lost. In prayer God delights in our petitions. In prayer, we partner with God to see where God is already active in our communities resulting in Holy Spirit guided discernment. Are we missing something? Could we solve the decline of our denomination if we renewed our commitment to God and spent more time in prayer? I believe we can move the mark. When people look at you do they see a person who lives their life as a total expression of prayer? Let’s be more like Cornelius. We have much to learn from him.