Pray God-Sized Prayers
Pray God-Sized Prayers
I remember so well praying for a baby called Craig. I had been asked to visit a woman in the Brompton Hospital. Vivienne had three children and was pregnant with a fourth. Her third child, who was eighteen months old, had Down’s syndrome. He had a hole in his heart that had been operated on. The operation had not been a success and, not unnaturally, the medical staff wanted to turn the machines off. Many times they asked Vivienne if they could turn the machines off and let the baby die. She said no, as she wanted to try one last thing. She wanted someone to pray for him. So I went.
Craig had tubes all over him. His body was bruised and swollen. She said that the doctors had indicated that even if he recovered he would have brain damage because his heart had stopped for such a long time. She told me she didn’t believe in God but she said, ‘Will you pray?’
I prayed in the name of Jesus for God to heal him. Then I explained to her how she could give her life to Jesus Christ and she did. I left, but returned two days later. Vivienne came running out the moment she saw me. She said, ‘I’ve been trying to get hold of you; something amazing has happened. The night after you prayed he completely turned the corner. He has recovered.’ Within a few days Craig had gone home.
Vivienne went around all her relatives and friends saying, ‘I didn’t believe, but now I do believe.’
This was over thirty years ago. I’m still in touch with the family. Craig still had Down’s syndrome but a remarkable healing had occurred. He became the glue in that family. This healing was not autosuggestion; he was a baby at the time. It was not positive thinking. It was not the placebo effect. It was a God-sized answer to a God-sized prayer.
Pray for mercyPsalm 57:1-6
Have you ever cried out to God for mercy? I certainly have, many times. David cried out ‘to God Most High’ (v.2). He prayed, ‘Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me’ (v.1a).
There is a God-sized prayer for mercy that God always answers. That is the prayer for forgiveness through Jesus. Through his death on the cross, Jesus has made it possible that ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Romans 10:13).
The context for David’s prayer for mercy is probably when he had fled from Saul and into the cave (see 1 Samuel 22; 24). He cried out to God, and God heard and answered his prayer. David says, ‘I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfils his purpose for me’ (Psalm 57:2).
David knew that God had a purpose for his life and that he would fulfil that purpose. God has a God-sized purpose for your life. Respond, like David, to God’s call and obey him.
God answers God-sized prayers in a God-sized way: ‘He sends from heaven and saves me… God sends his love and his faithfulness’ (v.3).
O God, thank you for your love and your faithfulness (v.3). My soul will take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Pray for healingJohn 4:43-5:15
There are times in our lives when we are desperate for healing – either for others, or for ourselves. In this life our prayers for healing will not always be answered. Unanswered prayer can be a difficult and painful thing to wrestle with.¹ But sometimes God does intervene miraculously to bring healing. We see here two examples of this, both coming about as a result of God-sized prayers:
Healing for others
The royal official begged Jesus to heal his son (4.47), who was on the brink of death.
‘Jesus put him off: “Unless you people are dazzled by a miracle, you refuse to believe”’ (v.48, MSG). But the official would not be put off: ‘Come down! It’s life or death for my son’ (v.49, MSG).
Jesus responded to the man’s faith. The man believed that if Jesus came he could heal his son. Jesus asked him to go one step further and believe that his words from miles away could heal his son. The man did believe. And Jesus performed the miracle – he heard the man’s God-sized prayer and healed his son. As a result, his whole household believed (v.53).
Healing for ourselves
Jesus went to a place where there were a multitude of people with disabilities; lame, blind and paralysed (5:3). This was a culture that saw disability as a punishment from God. Such people were hidden away. But God has chosen the weak and the foolish of the world in order to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27–28).
Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). The man must have been desperate: he had been putting his hope in the healing powers of the waters of Bethesda, which would bubble up periodically, and it was thought that the first person in after the waters bubbled up would be healed. But this man had no one to help him get in first (v.7).
He had no friends, no close family. Nobody cared for him. He was alone and abandoned. Nobody loved him, but Jesus loved him.
Jesus says to him, as he says to each one of us, ‘Do you want to get well?’ (v.6). For thirty-eight years, this man had learned to survive as he was. Now he has to rise up, make choices, find new friends, find work and become responsible for his life.
Joyce Meyer writes of this incident that, in effect, Jesus said to the man, ‘Don’t just lie there, do something!’ She continues, ‘Being sexually abused for approximately fifteen years and growing up in a dysfunctional home left me lacking confidence and filled with shame. I wanted to have good things in my life, but I was stuck in emotional torment and despair.
‘Like the man in John 5, Jesus did not give me pity either. Jesus was actually very firm with me and He applied a lot of tough love, but His refusal to let me wallow in self-pity was a turning point in my life. I am not in the pit any longer. I now have a great life. If you will reject self-pity, actively look to God and do what He instructs you to do, you can have a great life too.’
Thank you, Lord, that you hear our prayers for healing for ourselves and others. Today I cry out to you for healing for…
¹ My friend, Pete Greig, has written an excellent book on this subject called God on Mute
Pray for leadershipJudges 4:1-5:31
Everything rises and falls on leadership. If a business is well-led it tends to do well. If a church is well-led it usually flourishes. If a nation is well-led it will most often prosper.
After Sisera had ‘cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help’ (4:3). Sisera’s mother looked out of the window waiting for Sisera to return. She cried out, ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoils: a woman or two for each man’ (5:30). We get a hint here of how Sisera treated the people of God.
In answer to their God-sized prayer God raised up an outstanding leader. Deborah was both a spiritual leader (a ‘prophetess’) and also a political leader. She was ‘leading Israel at that time’ (4:4). She was a charismatic leader whose presence was so valued that Barak says to her, ‘If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go’ (v.8).
Interestingly, it is another woman, Jael, who finally finishes off Israel’s oppressor (v.21).
Both women and men can make outstanding leaders. What matters is not gender but that leaders actively lead: ‘When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves – praise the Lord!’ (5:2,9).
Deborah and Barak gave God the glory (vv.1–5). Again, Joyce Meyer points out that God ‘chooses to use and promote those who know they are nothing without him and who give him the glory and the credit for all their accomplishments. Every time you have a success in your life, remember to give God the glory’.
The way in which God answered the prayer of his people was to raise up wise and humble leadership. As a result, ‘the land had peace for forty years’ (v.31c).
Deborah prayed that those who loved the Lord would be ‘like the sun when it rises in its strength’ (v.31b) – bringing warmth and energy; strong, bold and fearless.
Lord, I pray today that I would be ‘like the sun when it rises in its strength’ (v.31b). May I bring light in a dark world; may I show people the way.
Leader of the nation, judge, prophetess, prayer warrior, songwriter, worship leader, wife and mother. Deborah was an awesome role model! Who said the Bible is against women in leadership?
Verse of the Day
‘I cry out to God…
who fulfils his purpose
for me’ (Psalm 57:2).
Joyce Meyer, The Everyday Life Bible, (Faithwords, 2018) pp.380, 1685
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.