Saturday, January 4, 2014

Through-the-roof Prayers: The Long Way Around

But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. (Luke 5:19 NASB)

The four determined men had brought the paralyzed man to the building where Jesus was teaching, and they were not going to be thwarted by a crowd. When they could not get through the people in the doorway, they immediately began looking for another way. Their goal was to get the man directly in front of Jesus, where the two could be eye-to-eye. 

I've seen many Bible story pictures that suggest these men committed a serious act of vandalism in trying to get to Jesus. It has sometimes been presented as if these men destroyed a portion of the roof through which to let the stretcher down. Blue Letter Bible suggests a different scenario, which I favor. Middle-eastern houses had flat roofs, with a door to them so that the roof could be used for walking around or even sleeping at night. The roof was accessible by ladder or stairs. Perhaps, rather than vandalism, they saw the stairs, recognized an alternate way, and carried the man long-way-around to lower him before the Healer. 

These men were not dismayed by a crowded doorway, nor by an uncertain patient.  They were taking him to Jesus and would not be deterred. When they determined to carry him to Jesus, they did not have a promise of healing, nor a guarantee of change. Their job was to get him to Jesus. They left the decision about intervention to Jesus. Did they believe Jesus could heal? Yes. Did they believe Jesus would heal? Certainly. I don't know if you recognized this it not, but no request of Jesus is recorded. The presenting him before Christ was the request. 

I've prayed this way before, simply calling out the name of the one for whom I'm praying, knowing they need Jesus desperately and simply bringing them before the throne of God.  These prayers of desperation leave the choice of intervention to God, and may be the purest form of prayer. It's a "through the roof" prayer that puts our loved ones right before Jesus so that He can do what He wills.

Today, take the long way around and offer "through the roof prayers" for our loved ones. Call their names before Jesus with all the love and concern in your heart and wait expectantly for Him to move.