Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
So being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
For me this story brings many memories and thoughts, not least because at the age of twenty I sang the soprano solo parts from 'Merry England' one night in the ancient theatre in the city of Salamis (see picture above) with the band of the 9th Signals Regiment playing, and wearing a long ivory dress with my hair put up into a traditional Greek style. Having ruined the dress rehearsal from sheer nerves, I drank a small brandy the next night and took a Valium (bad combination!) and sang like an angel apparently. In retrospect I should have simply asked God for help!
I have seen the way the church always makes decisions by praying over people and situations. Those selected for ordination, for instance, are only chosen after prayer and the bishop lays hands upon them at their ordination to ask the Holy Spirit to guide them in their ministry. Any large decision that has to be made by the church never happens without considerable prayer, as we can see in the passage above from the Acts of the Apostles when the new Christians are choosing whom to send out as missionaries.
The questions is, if we believe in God and in His Holy Spirit, do we always ask God's help before making decisions?
when we get carried away with life,
making decisions and moving forward,
help us to remember that it will be much easier
if we include You in our plans,
and not try to go it alone.
If you want to do some more reading about involving God in making decisions, read this: