The Bible Speaks
“So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith…” Mark 2:4b-5a
In the opening verse of Hebrews 11 we find the most succinct definition of faith in the Bible: “the essence of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is what pleases God more than anything else and it is what moves His hands in response to prayer as nothing else does. If you want to see answers to your prayers, then offer them in faith. This seems simple, but many of us who may be able to define faith, struggle with how to exercise it. The friends of the paralytic in today’s text, however, exercised faith and were commended by Jesus in light of it. What was it that they did?
First, they were passionate in their love for their hurting friend. They truly cared about his welfare and when they saw an opportunity to help him they aggressively pursued it.
His paralyzed condition truly concerned them and they proved they would do whatever it took to gain for him a cure. Their own inconvenience mattered not to them if it brought healing for their immobile companion. Likewise, in prayer, passion matters much. If we pray about things we care little about, how can we expect God to care enough to answer us?
Second, they were persistent in their efforts to bring healing to the invalid. When they came to the house where Jesus was preaching, the crowd was so large they couldn’t get in. A logjam of people and narrow doorways prevented their access, but these four friends were undaunted by the obstacles. They climbed to the roof and broke through to lower the paralytic to the place where Jesus was standing. Persistance! Nothing would deter them. So it is with prayer. The prayer of faith keeps asking until God answers. Jesus taught that “at all times we should pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)
Third, they believed that Jesus COULD heal their friend and that He WOULD heal him if they brought him into His presence. It took faith to believe a paralytic could be healed, but it also took faith to believe that Jesus would care enough to do so. Both were necessary elements of biblical faith. When you pray, it is also true that you must believe God can and God will; that He is able to answer your petition and that He wants to do so.
The Bible speaks of faith as that which moves God to hear and respond to our prayers. Such faith is passionate, persistent and full of conviction that He can and will answer our call. The next time you begin to pray, consider the four friends of the paralytic and imitate their faith. Jesus will notice it and you will not be disappointed.
The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor of Turner’s Chapel.