On the Sabbath day we went forth outside of the city by a riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down, and spoke to the women who had come together. A certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one who worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened to listen to the things which were spoken by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and stay.” So she persuaded us.
When I read about this “place of prayer” at the riverside, I am reminded that a Church is not a building. In fact, the word “Church” means “assembly.” Basically, we are a group of people, not a building, and here was a group of people who probably had only heard about the God of Israel, that was meeting at the river on Saturday. Paul was able tell them about Jesus there. It didn’t matter that they weren’t in a building, all that mattered was that there were people who needed to hear about Jesus.
Notice that Lydia didn’t believe because she was convinced by Paul’s awesome preaching. The Bible says that her “heart the Lord opened to listen to the things which were spoken by Paul.” God can speak through you and I to people in such a way that their lives are changed, whether or not we are convincing. It is our submission to His will and Power that make it possible.
Here we also see a woman who has a gift for hospitality. She doesn’t say “I should probably let these men stay at my house.” Instead, she makes sure that they come because it is something that she really wants. That is a sign of the Holy Spirit. He changes our hearts so that the things we do for God are things that we really want.