But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
- Acts 16:18b (NRSV)
I lay restless, a myriad of thoughts dancing in my head. Seemingly endless to-do lists stretch out into the darkness. Problems from work cry out for solving. Feelings of regret and worry ricochet off the walls even as I lay dead still in the silence of the bedroom. I fear another sleepless night, more hours encumbered with a restless mind. So I roll over and whisper, “Will you pray?”
My husband, already succumbing to slumber, pulls himself back to almost-awake. In spite of his annoyance with my interruption, he relents and begins aloud, “Gracious God.” As I hear the words of his prayer for peace of mind and the release from worry, I feel a palpable change in me. As he asks God to intervene, my mind stills, and soon I sleep.
Prayer transforms our reality! The passage in Acts provides impressive examples. For the slave girl, prayer casts out “demons.” For the slave owners, prayer upsets the injustice they enjoy. For the jailed Paul and Silas, prayer shakes foundations. For the jailer and his household, prayer changes lives and leads outsiders into community.
Our prayers don't always shake foundations, but they can always open us to truth, wisdom and to the peace of Christ.
Prayer: God, remind us to turn to you in prayer, for ourselves and for others. Thank you for this powerful connection to Your Spirit, ever present in our lives. Amen.
Ana Gobledale is an Associate Missionary with the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, and serve as co-pastors at St. Andrew’s United Reformed Church Brockley, London, United Kingdom.