Thought for the week by Paul Sharkey

by Struthers Cumbernauld

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” Matt 16:19 (NIV)
Part 1

Jesus spoke these wonderful words to Peter prophesying the part he would play on the day of Pentecost when heaven's gates were truly thrown wide open and the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon those first believers. A hundred and twenty members of that early Church had gathered in secret to pray and were baptised in the Holy Spirit. A crowd gathered to see what was going on whilst Peter preached in the power of the Holy Spirit and the result was three thousand new believers being added to the Church in a single day. Quite an event!

The keys to the kingdom of heaven are still given to the believer who discovers the secrets of prayer! I don't mean simply reciting a few well known prayers in a hurry, but setting aside an evening or a couple of hours in the day and unhurriedly discovering the way into prayer that actually works. The best way to learn to pray is to pray! In Acts 10, God heard the prayers of Cornelius – and he hadn't even heard the gospel, never mind being baptised in the Holy Spirit. How much easier it is for the Christian who is baptised in the Holy Spirit: praying in the Spirit and persevering until the mind's distractions are settled, then becoming aware of God's presence and learning to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit moment by moment until you stand on the edge of the miraculous and know that in God anything can happen! Faith strengthened, eyes and spirit clear we venture out in new strength as anointed servants of the Most High God. Blessed be His Name.