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Opening Prayer

Light of the World, thank you for coming to shine in my heart and make me a new creation. Thank you for your Spirit who continues to work in me and make me more like you.

Read ACTS 9:1–19a

Saul’s Conversion

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.

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New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

Thank God for the example of those who teach us how to pray.

Think Further

This account of the experience of Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road must be one of the best known incidents in the Bible. We have been introduced to the ‘young man’ named Saul who was present at the stoning of Stephen, joining the mob and playing an active role in the persecution of the people of the Way.1 However, we should not overlook the crucial role played by one of the lesser known characters in Luke’s narrative: ‘a disciple named Ananias’ (v. 10). He might seem an incidental actor in the drama, someone with a walk-on part, who vanishes back into obscurity once his few lines have been uttered.

What a mistake that would be! Notice, first, the deep spirituality of this devoted follower of Jesus, whose response to the call from God was immediate and submissive: ‘Yes, Lord’ (v 10). This is the reaction of a man who is in habitual conversation with God and is neither surprised nor unwilling to receive direction from heaven. Prayer has been described as the Christian’s ‘vital breath’ and ‘native air’;2 Ananias’ prayer is a perfect example of that.

Second, notice that his spirituality does not prevent him from asking God questions: ‘Lord, … I have heard many reports about this man’ (v. 13). His prayers involve genuine conversation. The intimacy of fellowship with Christ means that doubts do not have to be suppressed but can be honestly voiced before the Lord. Finally, having received reassurance, this beautiful man seeks out the fanatical enemy of the followers of Jesus and utters two words which were crucial in Saul’s conversion: ‘Brother Saul’ (v. 17). It is precisely the lives of people like Ananias that explain the growth of the early church.

Apply

Have you known an ‘Ananias’? Give thanks for that person and imitate their example.

Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, please show your light to my non-Christian relatives and friends. Help them to see you and come to faith in you.

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by kingstar

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