Acts 10:4 – And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.
What a strange thing the angel said to Cornelius, “your prayers and alms (giving) have ascended as a memorial”. It seems this story, the story of God’s visitation to Cornelius’s friends and family is connected to this statement. Obviously, Cornelius longed for God to come down and touch his loved ones. I think there may be a word of encouragement in this story for us today. Have you prayed for lost loved ones? Maybe you have sown a seed into a rehabilitation ministry as a seed to reach your sons and daughters. According to this, every prayer and every seed you have planted is being stored up. Harvest is inevitable, our God is faithful. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes this passage.
“What a beautiful expression the angel used to Cornelius, Thy prayers are come up for a memorial. It would almost seem as if supplications of years had accumulated before the Throne, and at last the answer broke in blessings on the head of Cornelius, even as the accumulated evaporation of months bursts in floods of rain upon the parched ground. God is represented as treasuring the prayers of His saints in vials; they are described as sweet odors. They are placed like fragrant flowers in the chambers of the king and kept in constant remembrance before Him. Later they are said to be poured out upon the earth; and lo, there are voices, and thunderings and great providential movements fulfilling God’s purposes for His kingdom. We are called “the Lord’s remembrancers,” and are commanded to give Him no rest, day or night, but to crowd the heavens with our petitions. And in due time the answer will come with its accumulated blessings. Not a whisper of true prayer is ever lost. The longer it waits, the larger it becomes.”
Obviously we cannot buy or earn the favor of God. That’s not what this is describing. This passage describes a hungry man who was willing to risk everything to see the Lord come down and touch his family. I’m sure Cornelius, being a Roman officer in the Roman Army, had huge pressure on him when he began to look to Christianity for answers. He was willing to suffer the consequences. So let’s follow Cornelius’s example; keep praying and keep giving, harvest will break through at the appointed time.