My prayer list felt awfully long. As I lifted each name to the Lord, and the thoughts, worries, hopes, and requests pertaining to each one, I felt heavy.
There’s just so much suffering, so much unknown. There are just so many people who need Jesus- all of us, in fact. I know God’s not a cosmic vending machine but a perfect, loving being who is unlimited. Still, it sometimes feels like I ask too much and must bother him.
The next morning, I turned the page in my Bible and read the story in Luke 8:42-48. Jesus was on his way to save a little girl, and the crowds pressed in on him so hard that Luke records they “almost crushed him.” But Jesus felt it when one woman touched just the hem of his clothes and was healed.
Heading back to my prayer list, I went comforted by this short story from God’s Word.Heading back to my prayer list, I went comforted by this short story from God's Word... Click To Tweet
The Throne of Grace Doesn’t Get Too Crowded
Jesus wasn’t just crowded in the sense that many people were clamoring for his attention. In Matthew 9:31, the disciples point out to Jesus that asking “who touched me?” was a little crazy.
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
Jesus knew that power went out from him to heal one specific woman, whom he soon lovingly and personally referred to as “daughter.” For him, even though there were so many always seeking his attention, some of whom he did not heal, his interactions were still personal.
God’s Word tells us in Hebrews 7:25 that Jesus lives as a priest, making intercession for us even now. We’re told in Hebrews 4:16 that because of Jesus’ priestly, sympathetic care, we are to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
He’s not too busy. The area around God’s throne isn’t too crowded. Whether we’re bringing a friend before Jesus like the group who lowered a man through the roof to see Jesus or we’re falling at his feet like Mary at a bustling dinner party, there’s always room for everyone with Jesus. For him, each of the people and problems we bring before him are personal.
Time Isn’t an Issue for God
The woman who was healed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ clothes had been suffering from an illness for 12 years, and Luke, who was a doctor, recorded that no one could heal her. In an instant, she was well again.
At the same time, Jesus was on his way to save a dying girl, and die she did. But then he raised her up to life again. We don’t know why the girl had to experience death before Jesus healed her, and we don’t know why the woman went on for 12 awful years with her illness before she was cured. What we do see in this passage is that Jesus isn’t in a hurry, isn’t late, and isn’t constrained by time, not to mention death.
The obstacles of feeling like there are too many people in need and too many requests to bring before God reasonably are no match for the unlimited Savior. He invites us to bring them all, to bring everything before Him, endlessly. No matter what. “Pray without ceasing” isn’t just a nicety! His answer might not always be what we would prescribe, but he does respond.
God Is Listening
When the woman touched Jesus’ hem and was healed, she tried to hide. She only came forward when she saw she couldn’t go away unnoticed, even in that thronging crowd. I love that we can’t go unnoticed by God, and neither can those we bring before Him.
As the Psalmist says,
Whether you and I lift names or mere references (for example: “people suffering persecution for their faith”) there is no one going unnoticed and unattended to. God is listening, God is all-knowing, and God is involved.
What a comfort when praying feels heavy!
This is a topic I seem to write about often. If you’re struggling to feel like prayer accomplishes anything, I hope this old post will encourage you. If you wonder how prayer and Bible reading connect, I hope this post is helpful. Both of these posts are featured on Living By Design, where you can find FREE online Bible studies!