I love answering this question.Every time I think about Lydia’s story the Holy Spirit stirs my emotions and sets an energy within me that shares the Gospel even when I am scared or nervous. Lydia’s story is one I have read and told many times during the last eight years and every time I learn something new. Lydia's story is only three powerful verses in Acts 16:
Acts 16:13-15 New International Version (NIV)Lydia's story takes place outside the city gates in a place Paul calls "a place of prayer (13b.)" Often when I am at the Prom Closet I see that it is truly our "place of prayer” where women gather. People who come to the Prom Closet might not realize it, but before we open every Saturday the Prom Squad gathers in the back room to pray for them. God knows who will be coming through our doors. He knows the needs, the hurts, the blessings, and the joy. As volunteers we do not know these things but our prayer, much like Lydia’s, is to prepare hearts to receive not just a dress but a blessing that will have an eternal impact.
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. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Paul and Silas were sharing the gospel when they met Lydia. My favorite part of her story is that "she was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message" (14b.) Lydia had been preparing long before Paul and Silas arrived to accept the Gospel. It challenges me to remember that as a believer I also need to prepare my heart to receive God's word and blessing.
It is clear to me now that her story is ultimately about God pursuing Lydia and her response to salvation. Salvation not just for her but also her household. Her response brought her family to God. "When she and the members of her household were baptized..." (15a.)
Lydia story challenges me and reminds me, have I made "room" in my heart and in my home for God? or Like Lydia, Am I quick to recognize the truth and welcome it? Do I take time to prepare my heart for God?
“... she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house” and she persuaded us.” (15b.) We hope that as Lydia welcomes Paul and Silas into her home, you also feel welcome and feel God’s love as you come to the Prom Closet.
By the way, I can’t wait to share Lydia’s story with more people...