Praying, Preaching, Suffering

So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight." - Acts 9:11–12

There are three things we see in the life of the newly converted Saul-the apostle Paul-that should characterize every follower of Jesus.

First, Paul was praying. Acts 9 tells us that God instructed a certain follower of Christ named Ananias to visit Paul, where he would find him praying. I wonder what Paul prayed for in those days immediately following his conversion. He very likely prayed for forgiveness as it dawned on him what he had done. He had just seen Jesus on the Damascus road, so he probably began seeing himself and his actions for what they were.

I think he probably worshiped too. All his life, he had tried to be a good, religious guy. He had been devout and kept the Law to the best of his ability. But he had fallen short. Now he had entered into fellowship with God-something he had never known before-and he was praying. Every Christian's life should be characterized by prayer.

Second, Paul was preaching: "Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God" (Acts 9:20). Paul couldn't contain himself. He had to tell others about what Christ had done for him.

Third, Paul was suffering. God told Ananias, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine. . . . For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:15–16). Paul was going to suffer as a representative of Jesus Christ. While God used him powerfully to perform miracles and pen the letters (or epistles) that we know as part of the New Testament today, Paul suffered. And we will suffer as well.

Are you praying? Are you preaching? Are you suffering? All these things will characterize the life of the believer.