Acts 10:2, 4
A devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, which gave generously to the people, and prayed to God always…And when he observed him, he was afraid and said, “What is it, Lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.”
Previously we learnt that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a good example of prayers that reach heaven. Let’s call it the Chronicles Principle. Today we consider a New Testament witness.
The Bible here says Cornelius was devout and feared God. First of all that means he identified with the people of God (called by Yahweh’s name). Although he was Italian and had been an idol worshipper in all likelihood, he abandoned all that to follow the true God. Have you done the same?
It also implies that he was humble enough to admit that his Roman religion wasn’t worth holding on to. He wasn’t ready to perish because of personal, ethnic, cultural or national pride. How about you?
Thirdly, the fact that Cornelius feared God means he had turned away from his wicked ways. Have you? That’s an illuminating concept beloved. It suggests that repentance stems from reverencing God. No reverence, no repentance!
Fourthly, our text clearly states that he prayed to God always. This is different from a one-off prayer in order to come out of a tight spot. His was a lifestyle of praying and seeking God. Our prayer lives must not be erratic or seasonal, beloved, if we really want God to intervene in our personal and national crises.
Fifthly, Cornelius’ example matches the Chronicles Principle because he gave generously. Giving is a great way of worshipping and seeking God. When combined with the other elements, sowing spiritual seeds regularly compounds the effect of our prayers. Let us learn from the best, beloved!