What are you praying for? Anything? As you answer that question, remember that we witness Peter praying in Acts 10. To be fair, the text does not say what he was praying for, just that he was praying. It does, however, reveal a few elements of how he prayed. Through this act of obedience, we get a lot of detail about how God works.
Consider first that Peter had a location to pray. Verse 10 says that he “went up on the housetop.” Before you get your ladder out to climb onto your roof, think about what is unique about that location. First, it’s quiet. The rooftop was secluded so Peter was able to be alone. In this seclusion, he is less distracted and, therefore, more likely to encounter God. That is the primary factor of being on the rooftop.
I suppose Peter may have seen another opportunity in being on the rooftop. Being elevated, he may have felt closer to heaven. Of course, we know that physical distance is not a thing for God, but it may be for us. Perhaps Peter could better focus his heart on God because of it. I’ve found this to be true for myself. Specifically when sitting in the cathedral at the Chiara center. While God can be found everywhere, there is something sacred about certain places. The challenge here is to find our sacred space and use it regularly.
The text also suggests that Peter used this place regularly. It even cites the time as “the sixth hour.” Could it be that Peter went to this place at the same time, every day? It’s probable that he utilized a variety of spiritual locations and very likely that he prayed every day at the same time.
Let’s be clear that God does not mandate where or when we pray. He does, however, ask us to pray. Prayer is not just an opportunity to communicate with God, allowing us to seek guidance, express gratitude or voice our needs and wants. It is also an outlet for God to guide and direct us. In prayer, he guides and directs us toward fulfilling our mission and purpose in life. In short, it is transforming.
One commentator says, “As Christians engage in prayer and seek God’s guidance, they believe that he will lead them toward their mission and purpose in life. This may involve opportunities to serve, share their faith, help others in need, or make a positive impact in their communities and the world at large. Prayer is seen as a way through which God equips and empowers his followers for their mission, providing them with the spiritual resources, strength, and guidance needed to fulfill their purpose.”
This is abundantly clear to Peter. As he prayed, his thinking was transformed. He went from believing that some things – and some people – are unclean to understanding that God makes all things clean. This was no small thing. This transformation sparked Peter to take action he would have never considered. Now, the Gospel message will be shared with the Gentiles.
I wonder, where am I holding God back? How do I need to be transformed? There is one simple answer to those questions. Pray as Peter did.