Sometimes we think our intercession for others will work only if we say enough prayers or say the right ones, but the power of intercessory prayer lies in the love we put into the prayer and the love of our God who hears them.
Dr. Edward Sri records this week’s episode from a place on the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum—where Jesus healed the paralyzed man who was lowered through a roof by his friends. Reflecting on the story of the paralyzed man lowered through the roof by his friends, Dr. Sri explains how Christ invites us to be part of his healing ministry by interceding for our friends, loved ones, co-workers, and even total strangers.
Snippet from the Show:
“God does not need our help or our prayers. But even though he doesn’t need them, he invites us to pray. He is moved by our love for someone else.”
The Healings of Christ’s Public Ministry
St. Luke and St. Matthew’s Gospels tell us about many sick people who were brought to Christ by their loved ones for healing.
In Matthew 8, we see that Jesus cleanses a leper, heals a centurion’s servant, heals many at Simon’s house, and drives out demons from the Gadarene demoniacs. In Luke 4, we also hear about the healing of the man with an unclean spirit.
Perhaps one of the most famous of Christ’s healings is found in Mark 9: the healing of the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof of a house by his friends.
This paralyzed man could not walk to Jesus on his own. We don’t have any record of the paralyzed man asking his friends to take him to Jesus, but we know that his friends take the initiative to do just that … they bring their friend to Jesus. Determined, they go through great lengths to put him in front of Jesus—they take him through crowds, up onto the roof of a house, and lower him down through the ceiling. That’s how much they love their friend and that’s how much faith they have in Jesus Christ.
We know the end of the story—Jesus heals the man and forgives his sins. But we often forget what the scripture says—Matthew tells us that when Christ saw “their faith” (the faith of the paralyzed man’s friends), he forgave the paralyzed man’s sins and healed him.
What does this teach us about the power of intercessory prayer? It’s not the prayer itself, it’s not about how many prayers or novenas you say, it’s about how much love we put into those prayers.
It Is Good for Us to Intercede for Others
God doesn’t need our help or our prayers, but he invites us to help. Why?
- Interceding for others is good for us … it grows our love and expands our hearts
- God is moved by our love. When he sees a humble heart come before him petitioning him for someone else, he can’t resist.
The Practicals of Intercessory Prayer:
- The first thing to do is identify what friends, family members, co-workers need prayers. Ask yourself, who in my life is “paralyzed?” Who can’t/won’t walk to Christ themselves?
- Next, commit to interceding for them. Ask yourself, do you love them enough to pray for them?
- Finally, bring them to Jesus. Bring them to him especially in the Eucharist. Pray for them at Mass, offer communion for them, pray for them in the Adoration chapel.
Our chapels should be packed! When Jesus visited towns, he couldn’t even move because of the crowds who gathered.
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed … a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him; for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.