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21 Days of Prayer and Fasting | DAY 9



Trust the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. ” Proverbs 3:5-6

PRESS PAUSE: Before you do anything else, take a moment to reflect on and celebrate all the Lord did in you, for you, and spoke to you yesterday.  

READ: Acts 16:1-10

Have you ever wished that the Lord would give you directions like your car GPS, with verbal turn-by-turn instructions? Or have you waited for an audible voice to come out of the clouds with your next move? It would likely be much easier to follow God’s directions if they showed up as flashing neon arrows, but unfortunately for us, we have to pay more attention than that.

Acts chapter 16 gives a great example of what it can look like to receive direction from the Lord in a very real way, even if it’s not with flashing arrows. Let’s look more closely at a description of how some of the early apostles navigated this from our passage for today.

“Next, Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.  Then, coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again, the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So, instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.  That night, Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.” (Acts 16:6-10 NLT) 

Luke, the author of the letter we call Acts, describes a series of events that eventually led Paul and Silas to preach in Macedonia. We don’t know exactly what it meant for the Holy Spirit to “prevent” them from going to Asia or Bithynia, but we can imagine that maybe they felt an unease in their spirit about going to those provinces, or maybe there were physical obstacles in their way preventing their journey, or something else entirely. What we do know, however, is that Paul and Silas were so in tune with the Holy Spirit that they understood that the Lord was guiding them somewhere besides their original destination.

So often, we can pray for direction and, in our hearts, hope to hear only the answer we want to hear. Imagine how easy it could have been for Paul and Silas to pray for guidance, but only if it led them to Asia. Or, imagine if they had prayed for direction, then carried on with their original plan and ignored the promptings of the Holy Spirit!  Notice that the Holy Spirit didn’t map out every stop on the map for them but instead nudged them when they started on a path he didn’t want them to follow. Jesus didn’t appear with a voice from heaven telling them to go specifically to Phrygia and Galatia, but he did communicate to them that they were not supposed to go to Asia at that point. The Holy Spirit didn’t demand they preach in Mysia, but He did prevent them from going to Bithynia.

Sometimes, the direction we’re looking for from Jesus is like a recipe. First, do this, then do this, then do this. But in reality, His direction is often more subtle than that. So pay attention to the things He is prompting you to not do as well as the things He is prompting you to do. There may be more direction in Him preventing certain things than we expect.

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