Acts 3:1-10 (ESV)
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
The man lame from birth was asking for the wrong thing. He was there to ask alms of those entering the temple. It never occurred to him to ask to be healed. Peter gave him the shock of a lifetime.
Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
But Peter gave him more than just his legs; Peter gave him faith. The beggar had been lame from birth. Leaping around in the temple isn’t such a great idea for someone who has never practiced jumping before; one bad landing and he’s back to square one.
That didn’t matter to him. He had just seen – could even feel – the power of Jesus Christ in his own body. In an instant, he went from no faith to rock solid faith. It’s all true! Praise the Lord!
I’d jump too.
Our prayers are often off base – just like the beggar’s request to Peter. But just as Peter gave him what he needed instead of what he asked for, so God often honors our requests by giving us something other than what we want. It’s amazing that God would even entertain our clueless rants, but he does.
Prayers are best understood by looking at them through the retrospect-o-scope. Think back. What were your most off base prayer requests ever? How did God “answer” them? How did those answers match up with what you asked for vs. what you actually needed? Now comes the hard part – why were you off base to begin with?
Next consider your recent, most fervent prayers. Assume for the moment that they’re off base too. Can you imagine how that might be the case?
Ask God to help you grow closer to His will by illuminating your situation. Ask Him to stretch your mind and show you your errors. Be willing to let this hurt.
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