Read Mark 2:1-12
This reading looks at the story of the paralytic. The story below provides an illustration to help us understand how our actions in life can be used by God to bless others. It especially shows us the power of prayer.
An illustration by Pastor Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson, Grace Lutheran Church, Medicine Hat, Alberta
“What is your favorite Bible story, papa?” the little girl asked her father as he tucked her under the sheets.
“Let me see,” he said as he sat on the edge of the bed. “There are so many that I love. The story we read tonight at supper of the four men who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus, lowering him through the roof, is one of my favorites because it reminds me so much of how your uncle Hans was healed.”
“I don’t know that story,” the little girl said hopefully. “Please tell it to me, Papa.”
“Many years ago,” the father began, “Hans and his wife, Enid, escaped the war in Europe so that he could continue his life of teaching in the seminary. At first things were difficult because his English was not good, but soon he became one of our seminary’s most beloved teachers. The students loved him because he was warm and gentle and when he spoke the Scriptures came alive.
“Hans and Enid were very much in love. Nearly every day they took long walks together, holding hands. It warmed the hearts of students and faculty alike to see them sitting close to each other in church.
“Then one day Enid died. Hans was struck with sorrow. For weeks he would not eat or take walks. The seminary president, along with three other friends, visited him regularly, but he felt lonely and depressed. He was experiencing the dark night of the soul.
“On one of their visits, Hans said to his friends, ‘I am no longer able to pray to God. In fact, I am not certain I believe in God.’
“After a moment of silence, the seminary president said, ‘Then we will believe for you. We will make your confession for you. We will pray for you.’
“The other friends looked bewildered by their president’s words, but not knowing what else to say, they agreed.
“In the days ahead the four men met daily for prayer. They made confession on behalf of Uncle Hans. They asked God to restore the gift of faith to their dear friend and they continued to visit him in his home.
“Then, after many months, the four men all gathered in Hans’s living room. He smiled before he spoke. ‘It is no longer necessary for you to pray for me.
Today, I would like you to pray with me.’
“The dark night of the soul had passed.”
There was a long silence before the little girl spoke. “Uncle Hans was just like the sick man in the story, wasn’t he, papa? Only instead of a pallet to carry him to Jesus, his friends used prayer.”
Prayer: Lord help me to pray for others and to show Christ’s love, no matter what. In Jesus’ name. Amen