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They Missed Prayer Meeting

Acts 3:1-11

Peter and John were on their way to prayer meeting. I’m sure they attended regularly and everyone expected to see them in their designated pew–and if they weren’t there the possibilities were numerous and each one carefully considered. “Is Peter’s mother sick again? Do you suppose they went back to fishing with their Dad? You know, they really changed when they started running around with that man from Nazareth! They aren’t nearly as dependable as they used to be, etc.”

Peter and John were going to be detained this afternoon by a beggar who had been lame from birth and existed on the alms that were dropped into the cup he held up as people passed by. He stationed himself at the gate of the Temple, probably thinking that the people who were going to Church would be more likely to have mercy on him. Peter and John always spoke to the man–they passed him several times a day and wanted to be friendly to him. In fact, every time they went to church they walked by him. But today was going to be so different!

The lame man saw them coming and hoping they would be kind to him he expectantly called out: Alms? Alms? Please help me. Alms? Don’t you think they had given freely to him as often as they could? However, today they both had empty pockets. Maybe they even showed him by opening their wallets so he could see they were being truthful with him when they said, “We don’t have any money, Friend, but we do have something to give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” [1]

That incident created quite a stir around the Temple when the people recognized the man as “that lame beggar” who had been lying at the gate of the Temple for at least forty years. Furthermore he was dancing and leaping around and shouting, “PRAISE THE LORD!” He’d take some steps and then he’d stop and yell, “Look at me! I’m walking for the first time in my life! I’m walking!” Then, he would clap like crazy, throw up his hands and let out another “HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD!” The people shouted to their friends, “Come over here and see this! You won’t believe it!”

They all circled around Peter and John and were amazed at what they knew had happened–they had seen it with their own eyes! This man had been lying there for years–helpless–and these two men had healed him some way. How? They pressed in around Peter and John–demanding answers to their questions. And there were so many of them that Peter decided to preach!

A man lame from birth was miraculously healed, hundreds of people saw this miracle and were asking questions that gave Peter and John an unparalleled opportunity to tell this multitude about their Friend, their Savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ and about five thousand men were saved that very day! Quite a day! But–they never made it to prayer meeting!

Which made me ask myself, just how important are the traditional meetings and conferences, and church activities that take precedent over the people in my world who may be hurting? Don’t read me as suggesting we do away with all of our meetings and being at the church every time the doors are opened. Remember, I asked myself/ Anabel, what does this mean to me? Might it be more in keeping with what the Lord has commanded me to do (love) if I cooked supper for the family down the street (or across town) who have been living at the hospital day and night for weeks?

Jesus was explicit in His teaching, giving us suggestions as to how to carry out the greatest commandment–to love Him and to love others. [2] He talked about visiting widows and orphans, taking care of the poor, carrying one another’s burdens, and giving out cups of cool water. “In as much as you have done it for the least of these, you have done it for Me!” [3]

Lord, what I need to watch for–ever so carefully–are the people sitting outside the Church. They have never been past that door and have a lot of information that just isn’t true about what goes on inside and about You. Please don’t let me pass them by on my way to prayer meeting.

[1] Acts 3:6

[2] Matthew 22:36-39

[3] Matthew 25:34-46

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.