All praise and glory to the Lord God who sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to save us from sin, hell and death. Thanks be unto Him who loved us even when we were still sinners. We pray that the Holy Spirit guides us and leads us into all truth. Grant that we in the example of Christ our Lord, be truly sensitive to the needs and situations of others. All this for the glory of God. Amen.
In the Holy Scriptures we come to know of instances when the servants and prophets of God gave spiritual hope to others in trouble. This is shown in both the Old and New Testaments. A person who believes in the Lord God must be ready to be attentive to those in suffering and pain or in trouble. We are to this without compromising on our belief in the teachings of the Bible nor falling prey to tricksters.
The example of Eli the priest of God at Shiloh
Hannah was barren and so didn’t have any children. She faced a lot of ridicule and humiliation from others. So when she prayed to the Lord God at the place of worship at Shiloh she was deep anguish and desperation. Eli initially thought she was drunk but on questioning her found that her pain was strong. So he said to her “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him” and then we read in 1 Samuel Chapter 1 that ‘And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord” ‘. There would be no prophet Samuel born unless Eli blessed Hannah in the name of the Lord God.
This was not the only time that Eli did good. We read in 1 Samuel 3 as to how Eli helped the child Samuel hear the voice of the Lord God which then helped Samuel eventually realize his calling from the Lord God to be his prophet unto the people of Israel. Again, there was no way Samuel would know he is to be God’s prophet unless Eli helped him to be attentive to the Lord God.
The example of the prophet Elijah and Widow of Zarephath
17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.” (1 Kings 17:17-24)
If the prophet Elijah would have refused to pray for the dead son, then the widow of Zarephath would live in despair. But in truth, he had compassion on them and God heard his voice and the child came back to life again.
The example of the Apostles Peter and John with the Beggar at the temple gate
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 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. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 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!”7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 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. (Acts 3:1-10)
Though they didn’t have silver nor gold, the Apostles Peter and John had something precious. They had faith in the name of Jesus Christ. And by this faith, did Peter make the crippled beggar walk normally. They too acted with trust in the Lord so that they can bless this beggar.
What about your example in life?
From all the above examples you see one thing in common, the prophets, priests and apostles were spiritually sensitive to the needs and situations of others. They didn’t dwell on the ‘I will only pray’ approach to help others in trouble. They gave counsel, preached deliverance, gave healing and raised the dead besides interceding for others. Do not get into the stupidity of ‘prayer only’ when you see someone who needs rescue from danger be it hunger, sickness, poverty.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. (James 2:14-23)
Do not say that you don’t have any opportunity nor the time to care for others. If anyone insists on saying he doesn’t have time and opportunities to be spiritually sensitive to the needs of others, then he might as well add that he doesn’t have the desire and will power for that as well.
When you read the newspapers, do you read about crimes or someone in suffering due to grave illness? If yes, then do you then pray about such things? Or do you switch to the sports and entertainment pages which are at time full of the vain acts of vain people taking bribes and changing their spouses every few months? Do you pray against acts of unjust violence across the world? Or do you enjoy watching movies that glorify murder and robbery?
Suppose if you know of a relative or friend in need of a job, do you too start searching suitable jobs for them? Or do you spend time gossiping about them? If your church announces a time of prayer and fasting for a preacher who’s gone missing after entering into a nation hostile to the Gospel, do you actually care to do what is told? Or do you want to go to some amusement park which coincides with the time of intercession?
Not everyone reading this can pray and heal others instantly or gradually. Not everyone can raise the dead. But then does anything in the Bible say that you are not to ask for such gifts from Christ our Lord? If not, then do ask and ask in faith, hope and love till you receive. Don’t lose heart but pray. I’ve seen people getting healed after I pray for them and I give the whole credit to the Lord God for his mercy and power. I still am praying for the power to raise the dead. God only knows when I shall receive it but I will keep asking him in faith or expect some better gift for his glory alone.
In the Christian faith many people have certain gifts from God in the supernatural such as healing, deliverance and casting out demons. While some are yet to receive them. You might not have supernatural powers manifest as yet, but you do have the Word of God. Then if anyone needs scriptural counsel, are you willing to help out to whatever level you have learnt so far? Or are you suddenly after years of church going and Bible study, are going to say you don’t know the Bible? Even if that is your reality, I don’t judge you but encourage to get reading and studying the Bible with more sincerity that you ever had.
Resolve that you will be more spiritually sensitive to help others all for the glory of God. Pray that you won’t be discouraged by the ungrateful but will continue to fight the good fight against evil in the name of Jesus. Ask that the Holy Spirit leads you do all this in safety and without being deceived by anyone, and God will surely look at your faith and answer you in his time and way. Sincerity is the key in all this.
Christ be with you.