Have you ever asked yourself if God really hears and answers our prayers? The story in Acts 10 featuring Peter and Cornelius gives us the assurance that God answers our prayers.
Peter was in Joppa in the house of Simon the Tanner beside the sea. Joppa is the modern day Jaffa in Israel. This was the place where Jonah wanted to go but instead God through a storm and big fish persuaded him to go to Nineveh. It tells us that God has other plans for Joppa and it was not during the time of Jonah but that of Peter.
Cornelius the Centurion, on the other hand, was in Caesarea. Both of them were praying, and both of them were answered by God.
We can learn 4 things from Acts 10:
First, God answers prayers in different ways.
Peter received a vision on top of Simon the Tanner’s house. God opened the heaven and there was a large sheet with all kinds of animals which are all unclean for Jews. God told him to eat. Peter said no. One could imagine that the food might have been pig, shrimp, crab and animals and seafood considered unclean by the Jews. But Acts 10:15 says, “The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.'”
For Peter, it was a vision. For Cornelius the Centurion, it was an angel, a holy angel who told him a specific instruction to get Peter in Joppa and let him come to Caesarea.
This tells us that God can reveal His answer to us in any way. It could be a dream or it could be anything because God can use anything around us to talk to us. Just be sure to test it and confirm it in the Bible.
Second, God wants us to take action on what He revealed to us after we prayed.
Here are some things that we can learn from Cornelius:
1. He has a prayer time. It was at 3pm. How about us?
2. He was prayerful and generous. God remembered his gifts to the poor. This means that God does not forget every good thing that we have done.
3. He acted without delay and sent for Peter. How many times that we have delayed our action on what God revealed to us?
Third, God is telling us to pray only to Him and not others.
Acts 10:25-26 tell us that “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself.’
This should remind us not to pray to any religious leader, a dead person, a wooden, concrete or drawn image but only to God alone.
Fourth, God wants us to share the Good News to our family, friends and others.
There were a lot of people that Cornelius invited to hear the good news. And Peter preached to them.
In his introduction, Peter confessed of his realization that the Gospel is not just for the Jews but to all people. Peter now understood the vision that God gave him.
The result of the prayer and action of Peter and Cornelius was that the Gospel was preached and the people who heard it were filled with the Holy Spirit and they were eventually baptized.
Indeed God answers prayers. The question for us, are we ready to respond to the answer of God?