Comfort in Prayer

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, 

“Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?”

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!

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup,  #TeaAndWord, #TellHisStory#RechargeWednesday, #Heart Encouragement, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

13 Replies to “Comfort in Prayer

  1. This is one of my favourite stories of Jesus! I love how he noticed the woman and made time for her even when he was in the middle of doing something else, and I love that he sees us and those we care about as individuals and that he is always interested in our needs and prayers too.

  2. It’s so good for my theology to remember that God is outside of time and has unlimited attention span. As a substitute teacher, I am so easily overwhelmed — just as I was when my kids were small, and everyone needed me at the same time!

    1. Substitute teaching is a job for saints, Michele! They are blessed to have you. So grateful for God being outside of time and able to pay attention to us all!

  3. I have always loved this Bible story. Thank you for the good reminder that God wants us to pray, to converse with him and even ask for his attention and care. I have recently been having trouble sleeping. Rather than just tossing and turning, thinking about my worries, I have started lifting up people I am thinking about in prayer. It is not only beneficial to both of us, it helps to calm my mind so I can sleep!

    1. Oh Laurie, I’m sorry you have had trouble sleeping! But what a way to calm your heart until you fall asleep. I need to remember that. What a blessing to be able to bring everyone and everything to Him in prayer- at any hour!

  4. I needed to read this today. I feel like I am endlessly going before God with either a repeated prayer day after day or with so many random prayer requests. So reassuring to be reminded that no matter what we come to God with, He is never overwhelmed or flummoxed by our requests and petitions.
    Bev xx

    1. Thank you for encouraging me with God’s timing, Bev! Praise God He is in the business of endlessness and welcomes us always!

  5. I love this story, and I really appreciate the insight you’ve shared here. This is beautiful encouragement to trust in the Lord’s timing and hang on to faith. Thank you Bethany!

  6. Bethany, I am encouraged by this post! I have felt at times like you, that I had so much to bring before Jesus that surely it was a burden to Him. Or worse yet, that he was ‘too busy” with more important work! I love the way you expressed He is never in a hurry, and His encounters were personal. Thank you!!

    1. Donna, I always feel I’m “too busy,” so I naturally assume God is too. Thanks for sharing in this encouragement and joy that God is not in a hurry or too busy!

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