Mark 2:1-12 (NRSV)
When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Stand up and take your mat and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he said to the paralytic-- "I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home." And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"
[Andrew] first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus.
- John 1:41-42 (NRSV)
WHENEVER fear and anxiety overwhelm me, I feel as if my prayers are hitting the ceiling of my bedroom and returning to me unanswered. In these times of darkness I cry out in frustration, "I hope somebody is praying for me, God, because I just don't feel as if I'm getting through."
On one such occasion, the story of the paralytic and his four friends came to mind. Like the paralytic, I sometimes feel that I cannot enter Jesus' presence on my own strength; I need the strength and persistence of friends to pray on my behalf. Their prayers remove the barriers that hinder me from coming directly into God's presence.
God encourages us to intercede on behalf of others who need to feel the touch of the Maker's hand and power. Are there persons you know who seem so paralyzed by doubts and fears that they cannot seem to reach Jesus on their own? God desires us to bring into Christ's presence those who long for a healing touch.
Prayer: Loving God, show me those who cannot come to you alone, and help me to bring them to you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Being brought into Christ's presence is one of the gifts of Christian community.
Gratitude for those who pray for others
By Annette Dunlap, North Carolina