"Why are you amazed at this?" Acts 3:12
The man who had been crippled from birth clings to Peter and John. Those who saw Peter heal the man exclaim it to the gathering crowd. Whispers. Shouts. People straining to see for themselves. It's true, it's amazing! He walks!
"Why are you amazed?" Peter asks. All their lives these people have been proclaiming that God is a healer and deliverer. So why, indeed, are they amazed to actually see God heal someone through the prayers of a group of believers? Through someone like themselves?
As I think about this reading, I find that I am not so different. There is often a gap between what I proclaim and what I actually count on in my life. Sure, I pray for friends and family members. I fervently ask for healing and restoration. I know about God's healing power, his transforming love. I think I am praying in faith. Yet, when God sometimes intercedes and brings about a remarkable healing, I am surprised. Why, indeed, should I be amazed? Isn't this what I asked for?
In his infinite wisdom and grace, God gives us so much more than we ask for...so much more than we even know to ask for. God's healing goes much deeper than the physical. He wants to restore us on a spiritual level. He wants to unite us to himself and to each other. There are many blessings beyond physical healing that God wants to give us.
So, how should we pray?
- We start, as Jesus did, with the people right in front of us. Right here and now. We pray for their needs, both physical and spiritual.
- We continue praying for them daily, until we see results. We picture ourselves bringing these people to Jesus. We are not merely making a wish; we are praying! Through our faith we intercede. But that is not all there is to it. God hears our every prayer. He responds.
- We thank Jesus, even before we see anything happening. We thank him for his work in their lives, and in ours.
- We say Amen! Because we believe. We trust in his power to act.