Do you like to have people pray for you? Some of us would say “it depends.”
If we asked for prayer, we might be grateful to get a positive response. If we have people praying the same thing we are, even better. We will take all the people we can rally to “agree with us in prayer.”
But what happens when you desperately need something and you think you have identified a person who can give it to you … and that person says, “I’ll pray for you.”
Are you disappointed that all they are willing to give you is a prayer?
Acts 3:1-10 tells the story of a man who had been lame from birth. He had become accustomed to his lot in life. He was used to begging. He was used to being pitied. He figured it was the closest someone like him was ever going to get to Love.
He was used to receiving the dregs of life from others. They often slipped him a little something and walked on … on their healthy legs … without even looking at him.
And then the day came when everything changed.
“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.
Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.”
These were Holy men. He had heard about them. The lead man had been one of Jesus’ Disciples.
He heard he was a real rough and tumble guy who had cut off a soldier’s ear.
He also heard he had deserted Jesus, but somehow got back into His Good “Graces” and now was a real leader in The Jesus Movement.
He was sure Peter of all people would treat him with compassion and maybe even give him a generous donation.
The lame man was expectant.
“Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!'”
This was a good sign. Peter actually was looking at him. The lame man suddenly realized how unaccustomed he was to looking at people. He was usually focused on what they gave (or didn’t give) him. He rarely actually looked at the people.
“So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.”
But the man did not get what he expected.
“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.'”
The lame man probably was disappointed. Wasn’t it clear he was in need? Wouldn’t pity alone prompt Peter to throw a little money his way? Weren’t these people Christians?
Have you ever been there, desiring, needing, begging in your own way?
But what Peter had to offer was worth far more than silver and gold. Peter understood what it meant to be on the ground. Peter understood the pain of a fall. Peter understood what it felt like to desperately need Jesus and yet have no idea he was in His Presence.
Peter gave the man his full attention and his compassion. He connected with him in order that he might connect him with Jesus Himself.
“Peter said, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’
Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.
He jumped to his feet and began to walk.”
Remember the man had been lame from birth. He did not have to lose any more time in learning to walk. He instantly knew how!
He immediately saw the world from a view he had never experienced before. He no longer had to beg. He had something to share with others.
“Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.”
He was an instant evangelist!
“When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
When someone offers to pray for you, know they are giving you a gift more valuable than anything else they can possibly give you. They are not giving you crumbs. They are offering to connect you with The Source of All Provision. Will you receive it?
When you see one in need, how do you respond? The best thing you can do is give them your full attention and your compassion with no judgement about what they are seeking.
Ask God Who knows all to direct you how to respond. It may be He says for you to simply pray and He will respond.
But it may be that He is calling you to be very present and be His Physical Link to the one in need.
Look around you and see the needy in a new light. Realize we are all beggars in some way. We beg for time, attention, affirmation, healing, provision, companionship, Love … and the list goes on.
Realize The Power of being able to connect with Jesus, Who is willing and able to meet all needs.
Realize The Wonder of receiving and giving in His Name.
Realize the Joy of being able to say, with His Spirit to you and His Spirit through you, “Such as I have, I give you.”
“I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.”