The Soldier

"Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him...and he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered." Acts 28:16-31

A prayerful person gains a powerful perspective, in the crises of life. Prayer has a way of transforming an irritation into an illustration, and turning a doormat into a welcome mat. Prayer leaves a prayerful person unhindered from physical chains, and persistent crises that often bind and blind a prayerless person from seeing what God is up to in the middle of their crisis.

Praying his way through each crisis, Paul chose to be a welcome mat, not a door mat. His prayerful response to the crises of life empowered him to seize each one of them as an opportunity to welcome people into his life who were open to meeting the Lord Jesus Christ.

Note to self: Be like Paul when you grow up. You will never be filled by, or live under the influence of The Spirit, by obsessing over your Whine List. Stop it!

Paul was chained to a Roman guard, and his freedom of movement was severely restricted for "two full years." Paul didn't whine through the unnerving experience. He mined it, and The Spirit refined it. The result is found in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and his perspective on the Armor of God.

It is no great leap of faith to surmise that Paul's time chained to a Roman soldier improved his perspective on weapons and warriors. Being up close and personal, allowed Paul to examine the state of the art weaponry and have it explained by one of the greatest warriors of his day. It must have taken his understanding of the relationship between warrior and weapons to a whole new level.

Prayer provided the perspective Paul needed to receive, rather than resent the Roman soldier who was guarding him. The result was a relationship that gave Paul a great source of insight into the weapons of physical warfare. Paul, guided by The Spirit of God, turned his experience into essential insight into spiritual warfare.

A prayerful perspective turns a potential doormat into a powerful welcome mat, EVERY TIME. When Paul gathered the leading Jews of the city of Rome, he used his chains as means of communicating Jesus as "the hope of Israel."

"...for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel." v. 20

Perspective is an essential ingredient in hope. H.O.P.E. is Having Our Perspective Elevated. Prayer raises the perspective of a person, inclined to be a doormat. Prayer raises a prayerful person above the crisis of the moment, to see what God is up to in the middle of it.

Through prayer, doormats become welcome mats to those who are looking for a way to meet Jesus. When the next crisis comes, pray your way through it, and welcome people to the Kingdom. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!