Crippled Prayer.

Posted: September 15, 2013 in Motivational and Life Coaching

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“3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 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. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 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.”

Acts 3:1-10 (NIV)

We Christians know and claim that prayer ought to be the breath of our relationship to God. It is the way we communicate to our Father, ascribing our praises and thanks to Him, confessing our frailties as humans, and asking Him for our requests. Most often, we pray to ask God for our needs or the needs of those who are close to us. We ask God for answers when tomorrow seems so distant and we don’t know what lies ahead of us. We request for God’s intervention when we face the challenges of life, hoping that all things will eventually turn out for the ‘good.’

And it’s not a bad thing to fill our prayers with requests. Jesus himself said for a number of times in the New Testament, ‘ask [anything in my Name] and you will receive’ (Matthew 7:7, 8; 21:22). Even in the Old Testament, David testifies in his Psalms that God ‘he hears…and saves.’ Even the Lord told the Israelites, ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13).

But the thing is, we always come to a point in our prayers when God seems to be not answering our prayers. We can be praying for days, weeks, months, or even years, yet the answer we seek still remains far off.

In the narrative above from Acts, we read about the man who have been crippled from birth. If you have been using your legs for quite some time now -much more if you’re active or involved in a sport – it would be very hard to imagine what he experienced. And during their time, people with disabilities were really helpless and incapable of doing anything, compared to our time now where ‘Persons with Disabilities’ are given assistance, privileges, and treated without discrimination. Back then, persons with disabilities are neglected, disregarded, and even mocked as people might think the disability is caused by some sin done by the person or his/her parents.

The crippled man was well-to-do since he had friends to carry him to the temple everyday to beg. He’s been going to the temple everyday. Feeling desperate of his crippled legs everyday. Looking up to people everyday. Begging everyday.

It’s not impossible for him to have heard about this Jesus and even see the miracles that Jesus did. He also might have been hearing about and recognize Jesus’ followers who have been faithful even after their leader have been crucified.

And one day, he met two of those followers…

For no one knows how long, he’s been asking for money from people who come to the temple, hoping that they won’t look down and discriminate him and even give him money to spend. He asked the same from Peter and John. Yet what he got from the two surprised him! He got their attention and even expected to get money from them. But he was told to walk in the Name of Jesus! Now this man may have heard how Jesus, the leader of the two, was crucified and did not live up to their expectation as their Savior from the Roman empire. The crippled man was hesitant – he may have thought, ‘What crazy guys! I’ve been crippled from birth..and their commanding me to stand, even walk, in the name of their fallen leader! Hah!’

Peter however did not hesitate to hold his hand firmly and pulled him up from his mat. Then suddenly, his ankles and feet got strong. He was able to walk!

Now, what can we learn from this narrative about Prayer? First, have faith and assure yourself that ‘if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.’ (Romans 8:11). If we are God’s children, we have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:18-21)! What have we to doubt? Yet, most of us fail in this first step. We ought to seek Him with all our heart, depending on Him and resting our faith in Him.

Secondly, scrutinize your prayer requests. Apart from clearly not having faith in Jesus, the crippled man have been asking for the wrong thing! He was desperate to the point that he accepted his fate as a crippled, helpless man. It’s not impossible that he might have heard of how Jesus and his disciples did miracles and healed people. Yet, upon seeing Peter and John, he asked for what he was used to asking and what he thought would help him – money.

Sometimes, we too might be asking for the wrong thing. We don’t get the answers because we’re asking the wrong questions! Thankfully for the crippled man, Peter and John healed him and used his healing as a springboard for their message to the people around the temple (Acts 3). Many people were amazed and astonished as they saw the healed man walking and jumping and praising God! Have you ever thought how your prayer requests would be a springboard for Jesus’ message? How would answering your supplication bring glory to God? Will the answer to your prayer make people amazed of His wonders and get them attracted to the gospel?

Oftentimes, our prayers become too self-serving and when we get the answers, we give the glory to ourselves. Remember that we ought to take delight in the Lord first, then He will give the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Are our prayers -whether they are praises or requests or even confessions – an overflow from a heart that is delighted and dependent in Him?

Don’t let lack of faith and self-serving attitude cripple your prayers.

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