You Do It

Chapter 8 of Acts is interesting. It begins with Stephen being buried (after his stoning death) and then talks of Saul's hearty persecution of believers in "the Way." Those believers scattered about (to avoid Saul) and began preaching the gospel wherever they went. Phillip was one of them.

Phillip goes to Samaria and many people believe in Jesus, including a magician named Simon. Because of the number of those who believed, but hadn't yet received the Holy Spirit, Peter and John came to Samaria. Simon saw them lay hands on the new believers, praying for them to receive the Holy Spirit, and he asked them to give him that authority. Actually, he tried to buy the ability to pray like they prayed.

Of course, they rebuked him: 

"May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you," (Acts 8:20-22, NASB). 

And what was Simon's response to this rebuke?

"But Simon answered and said, 'Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me,'" (verse 24, emphasis mine).

My first instinct was to judge him. How could he respond that way to such a rebuke? But then, how many times have I called someone, anyone, to ask them to pray because I haven't wanted to pray to God myself. Is it laziness? A sense that I'm not worthy enough to pray the right (or good enough) prayer? Or maybe just wanting sympathy from someone, so I want them to know what my prayer request is?

I was once told that no one will pray for my need more than I will. If I don't feel enough passion to pray to God for myself, why would I think that someone else would feel that passion for me? 

Yes, God does move people to pray for us when we can't, and there are those who pray for the lost (who don't even think of praying, let alone feel like they can). But when we have a need—or as in Simon's case, have received a rebuke (or conviction of the Holy Spirit)—the best thing we can do it take it straight to the Lord ourselves. 

So the next time I have a need, instead of first thinking of who I can call to pray, I am going to tell myself: you do it.