Having a vision of a Macedonian begging him to come over and help us, Paul and his missionary band set out across the sea. Notice the powerful influence of women in prayer and one woman’s response.
11 Then, setting sail from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, a Roman colony, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia. We stayed in that city for a number of days. 13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women gathered there. 14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. 15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.—Acts 16:11-15
Many women in prayer opened the way for the Gospel. These ladies were meeting before Paula and Company even had the vision. God was at work within them, before he even called Paul. We can learn from both parties. From Paul: Be responsive to the Holy Spirit’s leading even if it comes in an unconventional way. From the women of Philippi: Be faithful in prayer; God will answer.
How is my faith?
How is my prayer life?
One women in worship responded to the Gospel. Lydia is described as worshipper of God, yet she did not yet have saving faith through Jesus Christ. In her faithful worship, God revealed Himself to her. We learn God calls all people to Himself. We learn to persist in prayer.
How consistently do I pray?
How am I open to God through worship?
That woman of influence shared the Gospel. Lydia, apparently, when straight home and shared her new, saving faith in Jesus with her whole household. The Greek word is oikos, that means family, friends, employees—her sphere of influence.
Who is my oikos?
How am I sharing Jesus with them?
That woman of hospitality cared for the Gospel messengers. Not only did Lydia share her faith with her entire household, she shared all that she had in her household with Paul’s missionary band. She exercised hospitality. As a brand new Christian, she extended Christian love.
Where can I be more gracious?
Who can I show hospitality to?
Women change the world. Prayerful, worshipful, influential, hospitable. Powerful. These Philippian women in general and Lydia in specific loved God and others. Powerful.