Acts 3:1-10

Readings for this week May 25 – 29
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Day 1 – So Much More Now on Offer

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 3:1-2

Sometimes the question is not whether God is there, but whether we trust him. Is God who we have always thought he was in the past, back when we were confident that he both could and would intervene in his world? When all around is uncertain, is he still the one we look to for help, guidance, answers? There are times when our picture of God needs to be broken open, and we need to come to a new understanding of who God is and how he works, to see that he truly is Lord, that we can still trust him as the foundation of our lives, that prayer works because of who he truly is.

Peter’s view of God had been broken open – many times – and his challenge was whether he was still going to trust God with his life; whether God would still be the source of all love and power in his life, or whether he would turn somewhere else. The times of uncertainty and discomfort that Peter had experienced in the past had served a purpose, expanding the range of what he knew was possible with God and what God could therefore offer to others through Peter – as was about to happen again here. In order to believe that the almighty God of all creation is indeed Lord and capable of changing the world – and that part of what will bring about this change is our prayers – and is ultimately to be trusted in everything, we often need our image of God expanded. Sometimes our sense of God needs to grow, to stretch – so that our trust in him and our prayers will be stretched along with it.

Questions to Consider
What specific events and teachings had grown Peter’s view of God? What has stretched your view of who God is? How did this happen?

Prayer
Father, you have shown me so much of who you are and what you have to give to others. Give me your heart for your world, so that I may always intercede for others, putting their needs before my own. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – Where Will We Place Our Trust?

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 3:3-5

In our society there are a couple of perennially popular contenders that people usually like to put their trust in. Power is one. The acquisition of power and its subsequent application – whether by ourselves or by others on our behalf – is one thing many people chase after and trust in. Money is the other. We can buy our way out of trouble; with enough money we can smooth over all rough roads and make life more comfortable. There is no doubt that money shields us from many of the ills besetting our world at the moment; those with the financial means are always the last to feel the negative effects of humanity’s decisions, both local and global.

How we view God impacts how we view prayer. How much we trust God to answer prayer – how much we trust that prayer is far more powerful than any alternative – will determine how, why and even whether we pray. If we think God isn’t big enough or powerful enough or interested enough in his world and his people, then we will probably not see the point in coming to him with our prayers and struggles and concerns, and we will go elsewhere. We’ve probably all had times in our lives when we’ve thought “Is God really big enough?” – those moments when we’ve experienced something personally, or seen something happen, that makes us start to wonder whether God really is big enough and powerful enough to handle/fix/restore/heal a particular situation. Peter and the lame man had very different answers to this question – to begin with anyway. If we don’t think God is big enough, if we don’t think prayer is effective, then we will simply choose something – anything – else to put our trust in.

Questions to Consider
What are you tempted to put your trust in other than God? Why?

Prayer
Lord God, help me trust you more and more each day. Keep me from chasing after other foundations and powers. True life is only in you. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – Better than Silver and Gold

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 3:6

Peter’s first words seem deliberately designed to dash the beggar’s raised hopes. Begging for alms as he no doubt did every day, the lame man would have been hopeful that these men were pausing in order to give him a few coins. Perhaps it was going to be a good day. But Peter immediately punctures what hope the man had by declaring that he has no money to give him but is going to give him what he has any way. Now, Peter technically did have access to silver and gold (surely the church community wouldn’t have minded pooling some of their resources in order to help this man?), but in this case Peter could actually offer something even better, something that the man might not even have thought to look for that day, but that would pierce right to the heart of his problem.

What Peter had to offer the man was healing, which he offered simply through commanding him to walk in the name of Jesus. Peter trusted in the healing power of Jesus, a power he had witnessed firsthand and that now, through Jesus’ bestowing of the Holy Spirit upon his followers, was directly available to him and to this man. Peter had faith in the continuing power of Jesus, something that he considered far more powerful and life changing than any possible alternative available to him. As ridiculous as it may have seemed, his prayerful trust was solely in the power of Jesus, a power he had seen, experienced, and knew that he could call on when needed, and that it needed to be the first thing he called on – Jesus, the place of ultimate trust.

Questions to Consider
In what ways do we show others that our ultimate faith and trust are in God? What does this look like to others? How would they know?

Prayer
Almighty Father, you are Lord. Show me more and more what it means to trust you. Reveal your Lordship in me and my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – Trusting Us to Play Our Part

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 3:7-10

Peter didn’t just order the man to walk in the name of Jesus. Something else accompanied this remarkable command. Peter stretched out his hand to the lame man and helped to raise him to his feet and it was at that moment, we are told, that the man’s ankles and feet became strong and he was able to walk – and not just walk but jump up and down too. Such walking and jumping and praising were the signs to passersby that this man had truly been healed, after years of begging at the temple. There could be no doubt who he was and what had happened – the cure was real; the results were there for all to see and marvel at, the no longer lame man included.

But back to Peter. He had reached out his hand. Peter had offered the man healing in the name of Jesus, he had trusted in Jesus miraculously to provide for this lame man – but Peter had also put himself into the middle of the transaction. Trusting in Jesus to heal the man didn’t absolve Peter from caring about the situation, it didn’t give him a free pass to carry on his way. He still got involved, he still played his part in what God was doing that day in the temple, in the life of the lame man. Trusting in God in all things is vitally important for us, but just as important is trusting in the fact that God wants his followers involved in his work and involved in his world, and that this lived trust will often require of us that we be involved and act.

Questions to Consider
Why is praying for others and getting actively involved in the answers to these prayers so important? What is lost if we fail to do this?

Prayer
Gracious God, thank you for always listening to us and having a heart that longs to hear from us and answer our prayers. But thank you also for shaping our prayers and giving us your heart and thereby guiding us in what to pray for. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – God Answers Prayer

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 20

God is a God who listens and he is a God who acts. One of the things he promises, as evidenced in this psalm, is that he will answer his people when they call upon him. He can be trusted to hear our cries and he can be trusted to answer, to reach out to us, to speak to us and answer our call. The entire life and ministry of Jesus was a living example of a listening, trusting relationship like this. When turning away from God and trusting in himself or something else were possibilities, rather than turning and seeking and listening to his Father, Jesus chose the path of humble submission and love and trust in his heavenly Father. Trusting what he had in prayer was better than any possible alternative on offer.

We know that no matter how close we are to God, how intimate our relationship is, how much we already trust him, God is always looking to give more of Himself to us. There is more of God to explore. There is more to hear from him if we will only listen. Regardless of how much we trust him and how good we think our prayer life is at any given moment, there is always more that can be done to open ourselves up to God. We must make sure we don’t get complacent, or think that we already know it all, or that we need not trust him more or listen harder, or get stuck in a comfortable rut. We can always trust God more, because there is always more of himself that God has available to give us

Questions to Consider
How might God be asking you to go deeper into him in prayer? How might he be calling you to a deeper level of trust in him? How can you do this?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, take me deeper into you. Reveal more of yourself to me. Make my prayer life a road to a deeper level of trust in you and a greater experience of your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)