“Don’t be afraid, just have faith.” (Mark 5:36)
These were the words of Jesus to Jairus, a synagogue ruler whose twelve-year-old daughter was dying. Jairus had come to Jesus pleading for him to come and lay hands on his daughter and heal her. Shortly thereafter, Jairus’ friends came to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”
Jesus ignored the friends and went with Jairus to his house, and found people crying and wailing loudly. He said, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. He put everyone out of the house, except for Jairus, his wife, Peter, James and John. He went to where the daughter was, took her hand, and said, “Little girl, I say to you arise!” Immediately the daughter stood up and everyone was completely astonished. (Mark 5:39, 41)
Like the friends of Jairus, we too, may sell God short and assume that he can’t do something or won’t act in response to our prayers. Therefore, we forgo praying for a loved one with a serious or terminal illness; we observe the actions of a friend and presume that our prayers for conversion will have no effect; we refrain from praying that God will change the heart of an adversary; or we neglect to ask God to give us the right words to diffuse a controversy.
A Christian friend, who specializes in physical therapy at rehabilitation center in Phoenix, tells the following story of a co-worker. The co-worker had to have an MRI every two years in connection with brain tumor surgery she had a few years earlier. It is always a time of anxiety for her because there was a piece of the tumor that could not be reached in the surgery and continues to be seen on the MRI. She always fears that a new MRI may show the tumor growing.
When the time came for the co-worker to have another MRI, my friend asked a small group of women that she meets with every week to pray in the name of Jesus that the tumor would be gone. It just so happened that that my friend got to see her co-worker just before she left for her appointment. “I kept asking the Lord if he really wanted me to share our prayer with her. I didn’t want to hurt her with an incorrect word. Well, there she was, telling me it was time for her appointment and looking very nervous. I shared with her that our group had prayed that the MRI would show that the tumor was no longer there. Then I placed my hand on her forehead and blessed her. She gave me a hug and went out the door.
“The next time we saw each other, I was walking down the hallway past her office when she yelled, ‘The tumor is gone!’”
My friend concludes, “This experience has also impacted me. I am much more alert to whether the Lord wants me to reach out to others and be available to talk with them and to pray with them if the need arises.”
How often do we sell God short by not praying for him to act?