Riverside Prayer Service
Verse 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
Yesterday we learned that Paul and his crew had made the trip from the east side of the Aegean Sea to the island of Samothrace and then landed in Greece. From the seaport of Neapolis they traveled inland via the major trade route and came to Philippi. The men spend a couple of days checking out the city. It is something to behold with its fortified walls and wealth due to its being on the busy trade route. There would have been many comings and goings and a busy market place. The people there worshiped the goddess, Artemis (or as the Romans called her, Diana) and so there were evidences of that worship around the city. She was seen as the goddess of hunting, wild animals, vegetation, chastity and childbirth.
Paul knew what the worship of this goddess entailed as there was a temple to her in Ephesus where he had been already. This give him an insight that would help him in his visit to Philippi. But when the Sabbath came they sought out likeminded people. The fact that Paul didn’t head to a synagogue, as was his normal practice, shows that the there wasn’t one in Philippi. According to Jewish law a city couldn’t have a synagogue if they didn’t have at least 10 men. So in keeping with Jewish tradition they sought a group of believers near a water source.
At the river they found a group of women who had met to pray. These women would have welcomed the traveling teacher and listened intently to hear a word from God. One lady in particular named, Lydia, was a worshipper of God and when she heard the Word taught, God opened her heart and she responded in faith and she and her household were baptized.
Lydia wasn’t a native to this city and was likely there for business. She was a wealthy woman who sold purple cloth which was expensive and had either moved to Philippi permanently or had a home in this city as well as her home city of Thyatira. She invited the men to come and stay with her revealing her gift of hospitality. Imagine the conversations they had while staying there!
Making It Personal
Do you enjoy meeting together with God’s people enough that you make it a point to do it at every opportunity? Do you enjoying hearing the Word taught? Do you seek out good teaching?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you like hearing stories about Jesus? Do you like going to Sunday School to learn more about Jesus? How can you show that you love Jesus?
Father, thank You for sending godly teachers for us to learn more about You and Your Word. Give us an ever increasing hunger for learning about You and Your ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.