Acts 10:30-33 reads:
Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour. At the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and suddenly a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered before God. Therefore send to Joppa for Simon, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.' So immediately I sent for you, and you have done well to come. Now therefore we are all here, present before God, to hear everything the Lord has commanded you."
This was the beginning of a phenomenal moment in history. God used one man with a deep reverence for God, a Gentile named Cornelius, to become the open door to the Gentile world. Up until this point, the gospel was only for the Jew. Yet suddenly the door opened through one hungry heart. Cornelius could not take the gospel to the Gentile world—it would have been foolish for him to try—but God could do it through him.
In the same way, when you are willing to open your heart to God's will, beginning with your own household, and then to your friends, neighbors and even people in places you have never been, you will discover that there is no limit to what God can do through a hungry heart.
When I was young I was very fearful, especially afraid of people in crowded rooms. I felt I had little to offer the kingdom of God, but I did have a hungry heart. I was walking the beat one day as a young cop, and I just started praying, "Lord, I want to win 100,000 people to You before I die." Then I began to be very specific in my prayer. "I don't want them to just be people who raise their hand in a service somewhere. I want them to be people who actually live for You and end up at Your throne. You will be able to look them in the eye and say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'"
Now at this point, I had never preached a sermon. I had no ability to speak in public whatsoever. But I had a hungry heart, and I was willing to embrace the impossible. I said, "God, I am asking You to do something so far beyond me."
Fast-forward many years later to when I was standing in the fields of Nigeria, in the midst of a civil war. By local estimates, there were somewhere between 400,000 to 700,000 people gathered. You could not see an end to the crowd in any direction. I remember that first night preaching to nominal Christians, Christians and Muslims, and talking about the worthlessness of all religion that has no compassion for its neighbor. I asked people if they were willing to open their hearts to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and about 100,000 people raised their hands to receive Christ!
I went back to my hotel room, and it suddenly dawned on me that in one hour, God had answered a prayer I had prayed years ago when all I had was a hungry heart. I got down on my knees beside my bed to give God thanks, and the first thing He spoke to my heart was, "Carter, don't limit Me. Don't put boundaries around Me. There is no limit to what can be accomplished through a hungry heart!"
In the book of Revelation, Jesus spoke to a particular church in Philadelphia, saying, "I know your works. Look! I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it. For you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name" (Rev. 3:8). In other words, "I know your heart hungers for Me; I know you want My presence in your life. I also know you do not have a lot of confidence in yourself or in your own abilities, but I have set before you an open door that no one can shut."
I feel God is speaking the same thing to somebody reading this today. "You only have a little strength, but you have kept My Word the best you knew how. You have tried to walk with Me, and you have not denied My name by allowing unbelief to grip your heart. You still believe that I can do what I say I will do. You still believe that all things are possible with Me. And so I have set before you an open door, and as you go through it, I will do something so powerful in and through you that people will have to acknowledge that I have loved you."
I encourage you to yield to God's plan for your life. You have no idea what He is willing to do through you. He has something in mind that is so much bigger than anything you ever thought your life could amount to. But it starts with a hungry heart ... and then one little step of faith ... and then another step. Just keep going through every door He opens, and He will give you His Word, His plan and His Spirit. He will fill you with courage, and you will be amazed at the difference your life will make in this generation!
Carter Conlon, pastor of Times Square Church and host of It's Time to Pray, was a speaker at the 2021 Promise Keepers Men's Conference at AT&T Stadium.
Founded in 1990 by Coach Bill McCartney, Promise Keepers is one of the most significant movements of God in the history of the church. In 1997 alone, Promise Keepers packed 22 NFL stadiums and gathered 1 million men for Stand in the Gap: A Sacred Assembly of Men at the National Mall in the District of Columbia.
Today, PK is on the move again. Under the new leadership of Ken Harrison, we're praying for massive revival and transformation in our nation by 2025. More than ever, America needs a revival of godly men. Our nation faces problems that can only be overcome when men of integrity—promise-keeping men—fulfill their destinies as godly husbands, fathers and leaders. To find out more, click here or here. You can also connect with Promise Keepers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
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