Praying the Bible – Praying with Paul

Paul’s pivotal life experience is referred to as the Calling of Paul or the Damascus Road Experience–the day Jesus confronted Paul. Luke recorded the original incident in Acts 9:

“Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?”

[Paul] said, “Who are you, Master?”

“I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down.”

(verses 4-5)

Paul’s retelling of the Damascus Road Experience appears in Acts 22. At that time, Paul had just been at the center of a riot in the temple, people were out to kill him, and as he was being half-arrested, half-pulled out to save his life, Paul turned around to address the crowd. He gave an address (we would call it a testimony), telling the people how he was converted from being a persecutor of Christians to one of its foremost spokespersons.

After telling about Jesus revealing himself on the Damascus Road, Paul explains what he does next:

Then I said, “What do I do now, Master?”
(verse 10)

What do I do now, Master? A simple, one-line prayer. The first question Paul asks after the Lord gets his attention. What do you have next for me?

The question becomes Paul’s lifelong prayer. He follows God’s call to the ends of the earth, proclaiming the Message as people try to imprison or kill him, but he continually asks,

What do I do now, Master?

In this simple response to a changed life, Paul sets an example for each of us who endeavor to follow Christ. His prayer is one we can pray every morning when we get up. His prayer is one we can pray as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. His prayer is one we can pray after walking across the stage to receive a high school diploma.

What do I do now, Master? is a question each Christ-follower should ask after the Lord brings us through a Damascus Road Experience, or any time he brings us through one chapter of our lives and into another. We all have watersheds in our lives, major transitions from one thing to another.

What do I do now, Master? is a prayer to be prayed on your way in or out of just such a time. It’ a prayer you might need to pray right now.

When did you last ask God to lead you to the next step in your life? Did you follow? What’s scary about asking God the what-next question? How might you incorporate Paul’s prayer into your life?

If you like this and you’d like to read more, check out my book, Ask Seek Knock. Thanks.

Copyright Tony Jones, 2008. Used by permission of NavPress.

Image courtesy of The Brick Testament

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  • I am at one of those defining moments of my life. I joined the USAF at the fresh age of eighteen for a myriad of half baked reasons. As time went on I began to try to follow this way of life that Jesus described as best I could. However it has become increasingly apparent to me that I cannot serve two masters. I swore an oath to serve and defend the empire. I find that the way of Jesus is deeply at odds with this vocation. My enlistment will be over 40 days from now. I am giving up my trained vocation and career that I have invested the last six years of my life. I am going back to school this fall. However I am very much living the question of what now. The question Paul puts forth here is one that is palpable for me right here, right now! I pray that I can live faithfully through this!

  • Sometimes I pray a similar prayer, but I always come away feeling as though Jesus has already answered the question – love your enemies, bless those who curse you, lend expecting nothing in return, judge not, take up your cross and follow me.
    No matter my vocation, no matter the choices I make, this presents a lifelong challenge.
    I’m enjoying this series, Tony. Thanks.

  • Your Name

    I feel God always wants to lead me in every area of my life. This prayer of Pauls is very important to everyone. I would you to pray for my daughter Roynea L. Epps she needs the lords help in her teenage life right now. My daughter is sixteen years old and seems angry all the time and doesn’t talk to me I really need you all to pray Pails prayer for my daughter. Thank you!

  • Ms. Terry Herndon

    Please prayn for my daughter Roynea L. Epps. She is sixteen and needs the lords help in her life right now. Thank you for Pauls prayer and Gods Love!

  • Your Name

    Sometimes one is full of anger because they are holding on to unforgiveness (towards themselves, God, someone or some situation in their life).
    It’s helpful to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal hurts in our lives and in the lives of others so that we can first realize these truths and chose to change as Paul did when he discovered that he was on the wrong side, he was pursecuting God’s people, and then he changed what he was doing.
    We all need to love, to forgive and to chose to live life congruently with integrity, and we will learn to love ourselves and others!

  • Shawn Doniger

    I heard Joe Stowell speak at ISI in Hartford CT last year and he said when he left Moody Institute, people were shocked and surprised. They asked him how he was going to move forward. They asked him who he was and he said without hesitation I am a follower of Jesus. People wrap themselves in butcher, baker and candlestick maker. Their job becomes who they are. Without it, they are lost. I know this feeling all to well. I forget to keep my focus on the only thing that really matters. He will do for us what we are so unwilling or unable to do for ourselves. If we focus our efforts on becoming the man or woman he wants us to be, things seem to fall into place. I am not saying that struggles and obstacles will not plant themselves in front of us, but I am saying that the purpose for our efforts will become ever so clear.

  • Patsy McNeal

    I have been having a lot of trouble controlling my anger and I want to be set free and I don’t know what to do. I have inventoried myself over and over again and yet I find nothing that I am holding to keep me so angry, please pray for me.

  • Your Name

    Dear Patsy Mcneal and Ms. Terry Herndon, I have prayed for you both. I hope you are experiencing the peace that comes without understanding. In Jesus’s Name, Amen
    What would you have me do next , Lord?