One of my favourite stories in scripture is that of the lame man healed at the Beautiful Gate. Peter and John, recently filled with God’s spirit and alive to the opportunities, pass by a regular feature on their way into Jerusalem. However, this time they see the man, the opportunity and the kingdom. As a result they tell him to throw aside his begging bowl for they have no money, yet they do have access to all the riches of the universe, declaring in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, ‘get up and walk’. The man does so immediately, his wasted legs once more becoming weight-bearing, and he can walk.
Prayer is calling upon the name of Jesus. It is casting our own fears and doubts to one side and choosing to lay hold of God’s promises. Prayer needs to be expressed. Prayer requires voices to declare not only who God is, yet also to present the petition in a way that the recipient can understand, and that we might come alongside with a loud Amen!
Interestingly, Peter and John emerged from the newly founded Christian Church, which provided a place for all to receive encouragement and growth. New believers prayed, listened to the apostles’ teaching, celebrated Eucharist, built community between themselves, offered each other practical support, worshipped and ate together. From this base, the two apostles emerged full of faith and carried the message of hope and healing onto the streets of Jerusalem.
There are times for private and personal prayer, yet also times when prayer is public and provides the conduit of grace into a fragmented world. Prayer is a source of amazement and is most necessary when we cannot see beyond a problem and we are in danger of accepting its permanence. Faith has the capacity to move mountains, so Jesus tells us.
(Dr Micha Jazz)
With many peaceful blessings