I’m a “Pentecostal.” That means I believe that the miraculous, supernatural power that Jesus promised his first disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead, and otherwise do his work here on earth is still available for his followers today. Pentecostals believe that if we are truly following Jesus and devoted to being like him, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit, empowering us to do things that we can’t do on our own.
Unfortunately, we sometimes rely so much on the element of the supernatural that we sit around waiting for the miracle, and in so doing miss the opportunity to BE the answer to prayer ourselves. We’ve become enthralled with manifestations of power, and end up missing an opportunity to manifest love.
Jesus’ first followers did amazing things through the power of the Holy Spirit, including healing many people of various diseases and infirmities, as well as raising people from the dead on multiple occasions. However, they also saw prayers answered as they lived life together in Christian community. God’s plan has always been that the world would come to know HIM through his followers loving one another–see “Greatest Commandment(s).”
Recently we had a friend who had a material need, and asked for Christian friends to pray with her for fulfillment of that need. In similar situations, most Christians pray, and then sit around hoping for a mysterious envelope to arrive in the mail or the material good to fall from the sky (Amazon drone malfunction?). But this time, we didn’t do that. Instead, the friends realized that THEY could be an answer to prayer–and they took it upon themselves to team together to meet the need. THEY became the answer to prayer. Not to get all self-righteous, because it’s not that they were special. Instead, they realized that God uses his church, his people, to meet the needs of others.
Just today I got to witness another miracle-but not one where God wrinkled the fabric of the natural world. Instead, I watched God’s incredible timing bring a man with a talent together to help a lady with a desperate need. He even said it was “no big deal at all.” But he solved her unsolvable problem. That’s a pretty big deal in my book! It was a miracle because God orchestrated the timing, and because he was generous with what he had.
How many prayers go unfulfilled because, rather than using a supernatural event, God appointed one or more of his people to meet the need, yet they didn’t respond? I don’t recall where I first heard the principle, but credit it to a former missionary I know:
If someone you know has a need, and you have the means to fulfill it, God most likely put that means in your hand to meet that need!
But we want to hold on to what we have, because we might need it, and instead expect the cosmic air force to fulfill the needs of others with emergency resupply drops. We essentially pray and say “I’m believing that God will magically meet your need; but don’t ask me to act in faith that he’ll meet MY need if I meet yours out of my provision.”
Be somebody’s miracle. It’s really not that hard.