“The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’” — Acts 9:10
I love the story of Ananias in Acts chapter 9, when God knocked Saul of Tarsus off his feet and blinded his eyes. God spoke to Ananias to go and pray for Saul and lead him to faith in Christ. We are told, “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord’” (Acts 9:10).
Notice how Ananias is described in the story. We aren’t told that he was a great preacher or spiritual leader. Instead, we are told that Ananias was a disciple. That means he was a Christian. In other words, Ananias was an average, Jesus-loving guy! History itself depended on a guy named Ananias obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit and leading Saul of Tarsus to faith in Christ.
Jesus taught that his followers would know his voice (John 10:27) and that his Spirit would guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Paul said that all of God’s children would be led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). Hearing the voice of God is not reserved for the spiritual elite. It is the privilege of every son and daughter in the kingdom!
Ananias is an amazing example of the truth at the center of the gospel. God wants to speak to everyone and move through everyone, but you won’t experience the fullness of his power until you begin to believe that this power is actually for you!
When Ananias was instructed to go and pray for Saul of Tarsus, he responded to God with the same four words that Abraham spoke when he was called. They’re the same words that Moses said at the burning bush. In fact, they’re the same words Jacob, Samuel, and Isaiah used when God spoke to them.
“Here I am, Lord.”
Availability is the key ingredient God looks for. Would you answer God’s call if he woke you up at three in the morning and asked you to pray? Could he call you while you’re in an important business meeting? Could he call you on your day off?
In the case of Ananias, God told him to go and pray for Saul of Tarsus, and the specificity of the command was amazing. He told Ananias which street to go to and which house Saul would be in (Acts 9:11). But God’s leading isn’t always that specific, and even when it is, it doesn’t remove the feeling of risk. With all that specificity, Ananias was hesitant to obey.
“Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” (Acts 9:13–16)
Imagine for a moment if Ananias hadn’t gone. Saul might have died and become a footnote in history, all because one guy named Ananias wasn’t willing to risk and obey God’s voice.
It’s a difficult truth to face, but every miracle has an expiration date. When we choose to live as though God isn’t speaking, or when we ignore his voice because we are too busy, we are missing the moments that bring the power of heaven to the circumstances of earth!
Habit 1 teaches you to set the course of your day by starting it with God. Habit 2 teaches you to share your faith with those far from him. But habit 3 transforms your spiritual routines into a dynamic adventure and causes your life to resemble the New Testament model of a follower of Jesus.
Habit 3: Obey the daily promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Spirit of Jesus, I want to follow your promptings every day. Right now, I open my heart. Use my circumstances, my influence, and my relationships to bring the power of heaven to earth. Speak, Lord; your servant hears. I give you full permission to interrupt my schedule. Here I am, Lord.