After casting out the devils from the man in the Gadarenes, Jesus sails back across the Sea of Galilee, arriving back in Capernaum where He is greeted by a large group of people. Among this group is a man named Jairus, who is the leader of the local synagogue. Jairus has a problem — his only daughter, who is just 12 years old, is terribly ill and at the point of death. Jairus begs Jesus to come to his house to lay hands on his daughter, such that she can recover from her illness. (See Mark 5:21-23, Luke 8:40-42, Matthew 9:18).
As Jesus and the others approach the house, someone comes out with the sad news that the girl has passed away. However, Jesus turns to Jairus and says, “Be not afraid, only believe, and she shall be made whole” (Mark 5:36, Luke 8:50). He tells everyone except Peter, James, and John to wait outside, and He enters the house with them and the girl’s parents.
Inside the house, there are many people weeping and wailing as they mourn the young girl’s death. Jesus then announces to everyone in the room, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth” (Luke 8:52). How do the people in the room react? All three gospel accounts report that “they laughed him to scorn.” How ridiculous! She’s obviously dead — what do you mean she’s just sleeping?
At this point, Jesus orders all of these unbelievers out of the house and proceeds into the girl’s bedroom with His three disciples and the girl’s parents. Jesus walks over to the bed, takes the dead girl by the hand and says, “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise” (Mark 5:41). The girl immediately awakens, arises from the bed and walks, to the great astonishment of her parents!
This is yet another powerful miracle that Jesus performed. But notice the reaction of the people in the house when He announced what was going to happen — they laughed Him to scorn. What do you suppose would happen today if any of us said to an unbeliever that we were going to pray for a situation and God was going to perform a miracle? The reaction would be similar — if not outright laughing to scorn, there would be eye-rolling or thoughts questioning our sanity.
So, what do we do when we face a situation like this? Do we do what Jesus did — put up with the mocking and then silence everyone with a great miracle? Well, that would be a great way to proceed, except for one thing — we aren’t Jesus. As the Son of God, Jesus could command the dead to rise or any other miracle to occur and it would happen. We can ask God to perform a miracle — and sometimes it happens just as we ask — but we are not in a position to command a miracle to occur nor can we guarantee a favorable outcome to any situation that we pray for.
If we can’t guarantee a favorable outcome, is it even worth offering to pray for someone’s situation? Perhaps we should just keep quiet and avoid being laughed to scorn. No, of course that’s not the right way to go as servants of God. We know that all things are possible with God, and we have witnessed many miracles and answered prayers, so we need to let others know what we have experienced and then offer to ask God to do something similar for them. For example:
- If someone is having a hard time finding a job, I might share how my congregation prayed for me when I was unemployed and I received a job offer that very week.
- If someone is concerned about their child’s development, I might share how we prayed for a 16-month-old girl who couldn’t even stand up — later that day, she stood up and walked across the room.
- Or, if someone is experiencing something similar to Jairus in the scripture above, I might share the following:
Some years ago, my daughter Leanna came to me one day and told me that one of her friends was in the hospital in a coma and on life support, perhaps close to death. Leanna asked me if I would go with her to the hospital to pray for her friend. We arrived at the girl’s hospital room and saw her lying unconscious in the bed, connected to equipment that was forcing air into her lungs. My tenderhearted daughter started to cry as she saw her friend in this condition.
The girl’s mother was sitting nearby. She knew Leanna but she had never met me, so she asked me what I was doing there. When I told her that I was there to pray for her daughter to recover, she replied, “Well, I guess this is a good time for a smoke break,” and she picked up her purse and left the room. Leanna looked at me and said, “What just happened here?” I told her to recall the Bible story where Jesus went to pray for the girl lying in the bed and the unbelievers had to leave the room before the girl could be raised from her bed.
With the unbeliever out of the room, I anointed the girl in the bed. During the prayer, her eyes popped open and she sat up and looked at us. Then, a peaceful expression came over her face and she laid back down and began sleeping normally. We left then, but before we even arrived at home, we got word that the girl was completely awake.
After hearing the above (or other miraculous testimonies), a person who has a similar need will likely be more open to receiving prayer for their situation rather than greeting the offer with scorn. Just make it clear that the outcome is in God’s hands. If you tell the person that a specific thing will happen, you risk damaging your credibility and bringing scorn on the name of Christ if things don’t turn out the way you said they would.
We’re blessed to be witnesses of the power of God in our lives. We’re blessed to be able to offer the power of God to others. So, let’s be quick to let others know what God can do and encourage them to put their situations in God’s hands to see what He will do for them. Hopefully, this will generate many more testimonies of the power of God today.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.