Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK TWO
ORBIT – DAY NINE
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each weekday we look together at a little bit of the Bible, and ask how we might be able to apply it to today. Please do tell your friends and family about these daily readings if you think they’d find them helpful.
BIBLE READING: Acts 16: 6-10
Paul is now deep into his preaching ministry, and is travelling around an area which today we call Turkey. He wants to travel further into the province of Asia, but so far he’s not managed it. Today, that begins to change…
Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
What’s the number one thing that people might normally ask God for? In difficult times, we might approach him for something specific – like healing, or help in a crisis. But when things are on more of an even keel, I think the thing we probably ask God for most often, is guidance.
We pray things like “Lord, show me which way to go”, or “God, help me to make the right decision.” And sometimes we feel frustrated when the answers don’t come back as quickly as we’d like.
This passage however, gives us an insight into how God can very clearly guide us – even when we don’t realise it’s him. What we read in the text is that Paul and his companions were “kept by the Holy Spirit” from entering Asia, and that when they tried to enter Bithynia, “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” God was very clearly guiding them in their journey.
But I wonder what that actually felt like to them. Did they see visions of gigantic angels, blocking their path? Maybe – but probably not. It’s much more likely that God was working quietly behind the scenes, in the details and the practicalities of their journey – meaning that things worked out in that way. A border was closed, or a ship left without them, or a friendly local warned them about danger. It’s just that because Paul and friends were so close to God, they recognised his hand at work in everyday occurrences.
More often than not, I think this is how we experience God’s guidance too. Not in a loud voice from heaven, but in seeing situations develop in a certain way, after we’ve prayed and asked for help. God answers our prayers in this way far more often than we know; like Paul, we need to learn the habit of recognising when he’s spoken, even through the most everyday moments.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
God, I thank you that you hear my prayers. Help me to listen as well as speak to you – and teach me to recognise when your answers have come through the people and situations I experience.
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Think about an area of your life where you really need guidance right now. It could be about a friendship or family situation, a choice of course or university, or whether or not to tell someone something; it could be anything. Spend a few moments praying, simply asking God to guide you in this situation. Now, for the rest of the day and perhaps for a few days to come, try to listen out for God’s answer – not just in terms of a voice speaking to you, but in what else happens around you or is spoken by others.
If you have a story to share about what happened with this or any other challenge, please get in touch. You can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!