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The Scriptorium

Pictures of Prayer (1)

Here's what our prayers can look like. Luke 8.40-42

Luke 8 Part 2 (4)

Pray Psalm 55.1-3.
Give ear to my prayer, O God,
And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
Attend to me, and hear me;
I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily,
Because of the voice of the enemy,
Because of the oppression of the wicked;
For they bring down trouble upon me,
And in wrath they hate me.

Sing Psalm 55.1-3.
(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Hear now my prayer, O Lord, hide not from me. Answer me by Your Word and set me free!
Wicked men sore oppress; restless am I. Lord, ease my soul’s distress and hear my cry!

Read Luke 8.1-42; meditate on verses 40-42.


1. How did Jairus approach Jesus?

2. What was the burden of his prayer?

The accounts of Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood provide pictures of prayer, in the light of which we might gain insight to how our own prayers can be improved. Let’s look first at the “ruler of the synagogue” (v. 41).

We note, first of all, that he sought the Presence of Jesus through the press of a “multitude” (v. 40). We don’t have multitudes of people discouraging us from prayer, but we do have multitudes of distractions – things to do, interruptions, routines, etc. If we want to get to Jesus, we’ll have to find a way to part a path through the multitude of things that keep us from Him, and do so earnestly.

Next, Jairus “fell down at Jesus’ feet” (v. 41). We must come before Jesus humbly, with a sense of our own unworthiness but, at the same time, expecting that He Who is so full of grace will receive us and hear our complaints.

Jairus “begged” Jesus on behalf of his daughter (v. 41). The Greek could be translated “begged and pleaded and begged”. He was persistent in putting his request before Jesus, determined to gain a response from Him (cf. Jer. 33.3).

Finally, Jairus prayed earnestly on behalf of his daughter (v. 42). Of course, he was also praying for himself, that he might be spared the tragic loss of his twelve-year-old daughter. And he was specific in his request: that Jesus should come to his house and attend to his daughter’s need.

Determination, humility, urgency, persistence, intercession, supplication – these are all ways that we demonstrate trust in the Lord through prayer. Let’s work to bring our lives into line with this picture.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood provide pictures of prayer. As do the multitude.
“So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him” (Lk. 8.40).

In prayer, we wait on the Lord, and we welcome Him into our presence, as He welcomes us into His.

“Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Ps. 27.14).
“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” (Ps. 37.7).
“Wait for the LORD, and He will save you” (Prov. 20.22).
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Is. 25.9).
“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Is. 40.31).

Here is the promise of waiting on the LORD in prayer: His Presence will go with us into our Personal Mission Field. To give us grace, to guide us into all truth, and to separate us from the world, as a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Pet. 2.9).

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Then Moses said to God, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth” (Ex. 33.14-16).
As we wait for Him in prayer, and welcome Him into our day, our expectations of joy are fulfilled. “You will show me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16.11). “You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your Presence” (Acts 2.28).

Welcome Him. Wait for Him. The picture of prayer.

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, that calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne make all my wants and wishes known;
In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare, by thy return sweet hour of prayer.

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, thy wings shall my petition bear,
To Him whose truth and faithfulness engage the waiting soul to bless;
And since He bids me seek His face, believe His word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.

(William Wolford, 1845)

For reflection
1. If you could picture your prayer life at this time, what would it look like?

2. What’s one thing you could do to improve your time with the Lord in prayer?

3. How can believers encourage one another to a more consistent and fruitful life of prayer?

The ruler of the synagogue of the Jews came near and, embracing the Savior’s knees, begged him to deliver his daughter from the bonds of death.
Cyril of Alexandria (375-444), Commentary on Luke, Homily 46

Pray Psalm 55.16-23.
Ask the Lord to help you improve your prayer life, to make it more continuous, more honest, more urgent and enjoyable, and to use your prayers to glorify Him in all things.

Sing Psalm 55.16-23.
(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Lord, I will call on You, answer and save! Noon, morning, evening too, my voice I raise.
Grant me Your peace, O Lord; answer my foes! All who reject God’s Word He overthrows.

Many assail, O Lord, many betray. See how they draw their sword across my way.
Take up my burden, Lord; strengthen and bless! Let judgment by Your Word  their souls distress.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by
clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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