Prayer and Dice in the Upper Room

Prayer and dice in the upper room?  That seems just flat out wrong.

But something like that happens in a very key decision making moment.

When the disciples enter the upper room , they realize they are down one disciple (Judas’ suicide).  So they decide to select a 12th for the position in Acts 1.  Then something interesting happens.


Verse 24 says “and they prayed”


Now that’s a great move.

I would do the same.


But it doesn’t stop there.


Verse 25 says “and they drew lots”


Does that seem crazy?  Prayer and Lots.

They seem mutually exclusive

Meaning you can’t have both together, you should only have lots or prayer or people shooting dice , but not both prayer and lots.



So how do we reconcile this?


It almost seems like you are saying God speak to us while we roll the dice.


Anyone have an answer, insight or just scratching your head?


Or…..should they have left it alone and Jesus would have selected #12 as He did the others?

Maybe before they pulled out the Vegas lots, they should have realized that this was God’s call.  


And the call seems to come on a Damascus Road to a murderer of Christians.

3 thoughts on “Prayer and Dice in the Upper Room”

  1. Hi Pastor Tim,

    I don’t understand what you are trying to say? Are you saying that they were wrong to cast lots, wrong to select a 12 disciple, or both? That they should’ve waited for God and he would’ve chosen Paul. Was Matthias a wrong choice?

    At the beginning of your article, I was actually pleased that they did cast lots. I think in life, we all cast lots. We roll the dice on many different decisions, even when we pray. Sometimes, we see how God has been working but sometimes we don’t and have to take a step in the midst of uncertainty.

    I am no expert in the matter. This is simply what I feel in the moment about a current decision I am facing. I trust God, I know that he’ll make things work but there is a fine line between waiting on God and doing nothing. I am tired of doing nothing.

  2. I’ve always read this passage and felt the same way about it. Glad to hear someone else with the same interpretation. It seems pretty clear that Paul was the answer to their prayer.

  3. This still happens in the church. God births callings and ministries in people, and before you know it, one man’s calling becomes a position or a program. The spot has to be filled… I’ve never thought this passage in that way. Thanks for sharing.

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