We had previously considered two centurions. You can read them here and here . Now, we turn to the third centurion, and fittingly, he is the only one whose name was preserved for us. Our friend Cornelius.
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
This centurion is also the most popular of them all in my estimation. In terms of the advancement of the gospel, the situation of Cornelius, was a great lesson and teaching point.
But for this post, I am only going to concern myself with the kind of man the centurion was.
A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
There are four descriptives for the man Cornelius presented here, I will attempt to explore two.
First of all, He was a man that feared God with all his house. This is profound. Yes I know we are Bible students and I can almost hear someone protesting that, up until this time, Cornelius was an unbeliever. And you know what, you are right. So let’s continue.
He feared God with all his house. It’s rather common that you will find men who are very committed to the faith, to God and his purposes, but their houses are not so. It’s as if those in their houses serve other gods. But not this man, he had been able to bring his house under the influence and loyalty of the God that he serves. He just as the Joshua in his day could say, as for me and my house we would serve the Lord. Oh that God will men-the fathers, the husbands will resolve in their hearts that as for them and their house, the fear of the Lord will be the defining feature.
Secondly, he was a man who prayed to God always. So let me state something obvious. A man can pray (unfortunately) to a god (God) he does not know. Remember what Jesus told the Samaritan woman:
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way. It’s almost inconceivable that a man will desire to acquaint himself with the God of the Bible, to serve him, to be loyal to him and follow him with being a man given to prayers, much prayers. All through scriptures, it’s a common theme. It’s even become more prominent in the new testament economy. A life of prayer ought to be one of the description of the believer.
James writing in his Epistle says:
…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly…
And he prayed again…
The Apostle Paul adds:
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.
There are shapes that our desire to engage God will as a matter of necessity conform us into. It will make us a certain kind of person. The flavor might differ but at ground level there will be a whole lot in common. A life of consistent prayers is one of those commonalities.