Where is Your Favourite Place of Prayer?
by Janice Keats
The Apostle Paul’s travel itinerary was quite extensive. He covered many towns and villages as he trained and fellowshipped with the saints of God.
As Paul was making travel plans to Jerusalem, he stopped at points in between and encouraged his fellow believers. But his farewell to the Ephesians was perhaps the most difficult because his time with them was growing shorter and he knew in part, the hardships that were to come in Jerusalem.
This is what he said to them:
“And now compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again” (Acts 20:22&25).
After a few more words of encouragement, Paul knelt with all of them and prayed.
“They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them the most was his statement that they may never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship” (Acts 20:37,38).
Paul tore himself away from them and sailed to Tyre and stayed with the disciples there for seven days. When it was time to leave again all of the disciples and their wives and children accompanied him out of the city, and there on the beach they knelt and prayed. They said their good-byes and parted (Acts 21:5). Many discerned that he was going to be in danger in Jerusalem and urged him not to go.
Imagine a prayer meeting on the beach. Imagine how difficult it must have been to part from the fellowship of believers that Paul had trained, discipled and broke bread with. Imagine sending off your mentor knowing the dangers that lay ahead of him. Paul tore himself away from the family of God, and all the while the people pleaded with him not to go to Jerusalem. Paul responded by saying, “Don’t break my heart with your weeping for me, I am willing to die for my Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).
Did Paul need to pray? Did Paul need the prayers of the people? Did Paul show any pride as he and the entourage of God’s family knelt in public on the beach? Was Paul effective in teaching the love of God to the various churches? What did they do in time of great need? They were there for him.
Why was there a prayer meeting on the beach? That was Paul’s point of need for protection and strength to carry out the Will of God. It was an informal gathering of the family of God. It was also a turning point of Paul’s life. Prayer was needed at that very moment in time! Knee prints on a beach provided solace to a soldier of God and the family of God!