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The Scriptorium

Pictures of Prayer

Humility. Desperation. Persistence. Prayer. Luke 8.43-47

Luke 8 Part 2 (5)

Pray Psalm 143.1, 2.
Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

Sing Psalm 143.1, 2.
(Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Hear my earnest prayer, O Lord! Give ear to my pleas for grace!
In Your faithfulness and righteousness, look upon me with Your face!
Enter not to judgment with Your servant, Lord,
with Your loving servant, Lord:
none can stand before Your Word.

Read Luke 8.1-47; meditate on verses 43-47.


1. How did this woman approach Jesus?

2. How did Jesus respond?

We have all known people who say they have given up on prayer. They tried it, and it didn’t achieve what they expected. But to give up on prayer is really to give up on Jesus, to deny His promises, refuse His Presence, and forfeit His healing and renewing touch.

This woman, stricken for twelve years, “who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any”, could easily have concluded that Jesus couldn’t help her, either. But she did not. Imagine the struggle it must have been for this woman to make her way, in her desperately weak condition, through multitudes of people, thronging and pressing against Jesus (v. 45). She could have talked herself out of all the trouble, I’m sure. But instead, she launched into the fray and struggled to get to the Lord. And then she “touched the border of His garment” from behind (v. 44), not even daring to present herself before Him.

What a picture of prayer she is! Desperate but determined. Struggling against all odds. Humble, hoping. Touching Jesus in faith. Whatever excuses we might offer for not seeking the Lord in prayer, this faithful woman puts them all to scorn. She was not going to allow anyone or anything to keep her from even the slightest touch of the Savior. Believe. Approach. Humble yourself. Reach out. Believe. See what Jesus will do when you pray like this.

Don’t give up on prayer. And don’t give up on Jesus. Let this woman’s faith, fearful and trembling as it was (v. 47), encourage you to stay the course of prayer.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Luke, the ever-observant physician, made note of the fact that this woman had been bleeding profusely for as long as Jairus’ daughter had been alive. Both for twelve years. And if Luke observed this, we know certainly that God observed it, and took pity on this woman and on the child.

This brave, determined woman knew what she needed. Until Jesus appeared on the scene, her only hope had been doctors, who took all her money but didn’t return her health for the expenditure. She had no doubt heard amazing reports of Jesus’ work with the sick, and she wanted what He had to offer. She needed to be in His Presence and receive His blessing. Perhaps she was familiar with the psalm of the sons of Korah:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling…God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn” (Ps. 46.1, 2, 5). Seems like this prayer had been written just for her!

All Scripture is written for each one of us to claim as our own, as she did. She was not afraid or pushed aside by the crowds, and God did help her. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3.16, 17). Thoroughly equipped with words to pray back to God. “For the word of God is living and powerful…” (Heb. 4.12).

The same Scripture that drove this woman to prayer, and then to her own healing, is available to all who choose to read, memorize, meditate in, and claim it as their own. Taking Jesus at His word is the faith, without which, we cannot please Him (Heb. 11.6).

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise; just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!
(Louisa M. R. Stead, 1882)

For reflection
1. What do you learn about prayer from the example of this woman?

2. How can Scripture help us in praying more fruitfully?

3. What are your primary goals in prayer?

She was afraid to make a direct intercession to Christ for her health, but instead, through humility and lowliness of mind she came behind, as though Christ would not know it, and touched his garment. Thomas Becon (1511-1567), The Twenty-third Sunday After Trinity Sunday 6

Pray Psalm 143.7-12.
Thank the Lord for all His lovingkindness. Today, renew your trust in Him, offer yourself as a living sacrifice for His glory, and call on the Lord to revive and help you work your Personal Mission Field today.

Sing Psalm 143.7-12.
(Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Answer quickly, O my Lord! Do not hide from me Your face!
For my spirit fails and I am like those who do not know Your grace.
In the morning let me hear Your steadfast love;
Lord I trust You, show my way!
I lift up my soul and pray!

Rescue me from all my enemies! Lord, I refuge seek in You.
Let me know Your will, O Lord my God; make me know what I must do.
Let Your Spirit lead me on to level ground;
save my life! Preserve my soul!
Rescue, Lord, and make me whole!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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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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