How Big Are Your Prayers? | Wayne Massey
Aeneas and Dorcas
32 As Peter travelled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralysed and had been bedridden for eight years. 34 ‘Aeneas,’ Peter said to him, ‘Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.’ Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became ill and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, ‘Please come at once!’
39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood round him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning towards the dead woman, he said, ‘Tabitha, get up.’ She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
How big are your prayers?
We must all have heard stories of people being healed, not just emotionally but physically, following prayer. We might also have prayed for physical healing, or been prayed for, but seen no obvious sign of this happening.
Peter prays and a paralyzed man is healed. He prays again and Dorcas is brought back to life. He knows it is Jesus healing – Peter is simply responding to God’s invitation, trusting Jesus and joining in with what is happening.
Obviously Peter was a great leader in the church, just like Elijah was a great prophet. So when they prayed, things happened, didn’t they? But that would be the wrong way to look at it. When we give our lives to Jesus, we are just like Elijah or Peter, in that we are called and come alive in a whole new way. As we participate in prayer as ordinary people, we can find extraordinary things happening.
Praying for healing is all about trusting Jesus. So how much do we trust him? It all depends how we think of God. If he is the one we just turn to when we need help, for ourselves or others, ie where we set the agenda for how we approach him, we are going to get stuck. But if we simply turn to Jesus for his own sake, wanting to love and know him better, then we learn to trust that God is good and faithful. We begin to put aside our own agendas.
Jesus wants us on his team, and when we agree to join it, he encourages us to be agents of his work. He could doubtless have healed Aeneas and Dorcas without any human help, but he chose Peter to be part of the healing: to be his agent. It could be you or me that he wants, to be his agents praying for others’ healing in these coming weeks and months.
We pray for healing because Jesus told his followers to, and also because it expresses our own love. When God’s kingdom fully comes, there will be no sickness or death, and prayers for healing now are signs of that kingdom coming as God breaks in. Nobody understands why some prayers receive a clear answer while others don’t, but trusting God makes a difference even to how we handle suffering. Because we hold on to the knowledge that Jesus has come and that the restoration and perfection he brings will be completed one day.
So how big are your prayers? Let’s make them as big as possible.