A Prayer to Reach Out in Faith
By Jessica Van Roekel
“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. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 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!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.” - Acts 3:2-7 ESV.
There have been times in my life when I have felt invisible even though I’m surrounded by people. The heartache of feeling as though I’m always looking in but never a part of something robs my hope and leaves me with resignation that invisibility will always be my identity. The book of Acts tells the history of the early church and Luke chose the included events with care. One of the chosen events centered around the lame beggar who spent his days at the Beautiful Gate.
Peter and John crossed this man’s path every day. We know from Acts 2:46 that the believers met daily in the temple and the beggar may have been so much a part of the scenery that he faded into the background. He knew what it was like to be overlooked and feel people’s pity and scorn. He had been there for years and likely witnessed many of the healings and miracles of Jesus as well as Jesus’ accusers and opponents. The temple courts were like his daytime drama entertainment. I wonder if he ever imagined one of the miracles he witnessed could ever be his.
When we endure a struggle, we question if anyone sees or cares. We watch the blessings rain down on a friend’s life and we struggle to rejoice because mourning marks our life like a permanent marker. On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the crowds, and thousands believed in Jesus. A revival began. The temple courts swelled with people to learn and fellowship together. And the lame beggar, the outsider looking in, watched it all.
In any great revival, there will always be people like the lame beggar at the Beautiful Gate. The broken and the beautiful pass through this life side by side. God calls us to look for both—to see where God is on the move and who needs a touch from the Lord. Peter and John touched this man, and his life was changed. You and I may not have the power to change a life, but we know the One who does. It may not result in a lame man being physically healed, but it may result in a heart healed.
A touch can heal the heart even when it cannot change the circumstances. It’s amazing what a pat on the shoulder, a side hug, or even a handshake can do to one’s heart. Studies have shown that humankind needs nurturing physical contact for mental and physical development, happiness, and joy. Physical touch helps the body handle stress and pain and impacts a person’s ability to have positive relationships with others. Yet, hurts and lameness of heart can cause us to pull away from each other. Because Peter and John dared to touch the lame beggar, his life changed.
Good things happen when we are willing to reach out to others on God’s behalf. Sometimes the only thing we can offer someone is our faith. When we reach out to encourage someone, it reminds them they are not alone. We can share a smile and offer a listening ear. Offering a hand and looking another person in the eye, lets them know they are seen. When God tugs at your heart and directs you to reach out in faith, he will give you the power to do it.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the number of needs in the world. Other times my needs feel too heavy to bear. I know how it feels to be unseen and wish someone would help. Help me to reach out in faith, but first give me eyes to see the hurting and broken who need a touch of encouragement. Use me to remind others they matter and that you have hope for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Simon Skafar
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.
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Originally published Thursday, 13 April 2023.