For a year God had parked me in the Book of Acts. Acts was my yearlong assignment. For a year I read Acts in my private time with God. Each day I studied its history and culture. I soaked in its revelation and wisdom. Since Acts was the clearest picture of the church at work in culture I wanted to know what that kind of church looked like.
In that season of ministry, when I was assigned to the Book of Acts, my wife and I had our ministry base in Berlin, Germany. We were scheduled to fly to Athens, Greece to train a group of churches and the Book of Acts was to be our text for those training sessions.
As I finalized my notes I noticed something. It seemed to jump out of the pages at me. How did I miss it in all of my studies? In that moment I realized that in the Book of Acts the church commanded more than they prayed for things like healing. Something had to be wrong. Maybe I just missed it. This was a stark revelation. I reread Acts again. I wanted to find the text filled with prayers for healing but the pages of the text did not provide this kind of evidence . Instead of prayers for healing I discovered that the disciples pronounced words of healing.
In Acts 3 I looked again at Peter and John healing the lame man and I noticed that no prayer was recorded. What is recorded is a command,”I don't have any silver or gold for you. But I give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk.” They passed this man every day as they went to the Temple to worship. What made this one day different?
In Acts 9, in the healing of Aeneas, again no prayer was offered, just these powerful words,”Jesus Christ heals you. Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat.” As I read on I saw where Tabitha was healed. The text reveals that Peter tells everyone to leave the room and then he gets down on his knees to pray. After prayer Peter then turns to Tabitha and says, “Tabitha arise. And she opened her eyes and when she saw Peter she sat up.” This was the closest thing to a prayer for healing that I had seen in Acts. What did Peter hear in prayer before he turned and told Tabitha to arise?
As I read on a strange excitement began to fill my heart. Along with that excitement was the feeling that God wanted me to discover something. The Church has lost the power of the command.
In Acts 14 the text described a crippled man in the town of Lystra who was listening to Paul preach a sermon. When Paul realized the man had faith to be healed, Paul shouted to him, “Stand up.” The man then jumped to his feet and started to walk.
These observations about prayer in Acts are not meant to be some new formula for prayer. There really isn't anything new – just things to be rediscovered. What is evident in the lives of these early saints is that they ministered in the power of revelational knowledge. They were able to pronounce healing because they heard something spoken from God's heart that just a moment before was a discussion around the Throne of God. Something of heaven had invaded earth.
Does this mean we are not to pray for the sick? Not at all. What it does mean is that God may have some things to say to us before we launch off in prayer. God is asking us to pause for that prophetic word that will radically change a broken life into a whole life. He wants us to hear that unique and specific word of healing he has for those hurting people who stand before our lives everyday.
The Book of Acts is the history of a church moving in the moment-by-moment revelation of God. They ministered out of a revealed word from God for a specific moment and circumstance.
Some things began to emerge as I soaked in what I was discovering. These miracles happened in the daily routines of life. In Acts 3 Peter and John would have been going to the Temple everyday at 3:00 p.m. It was like clockwork. The lame man would have been there at the same time and place as Peter and John passed him by each day. What was different about this day is that God spoke a word to Peter about His miraculous intentions for this mans life. Once that word was spoken to the lame man he was healed.
These miracles happened outside the walls of the church. The Book of Acts is about God showing up in homes, on the local street corner and any place broken people might frequent. God wants to get His prophetic people out into the marketplace to pronounce His will to a dying and broken world. Miracles are waiting to take place at the local McDonald's, Starbucks, and in line at the DMV. What God desires to do is to make us ready for a miraculous marketplace ministry. To do this we need to understand that we are the church no matter where we find ourselves.
These miracles happened when someone was willing to pause in the moment. We are all busy. Life is busy. The downside is that our lives can become so busy that we are no longer available to do the business of the Kingdom. When we are too busy to engage the passing moments of life we miss the joy of being used by God to do something supernatural in His Name. This kind of miraculous marketplace ministry is available to those who will cultivate the ability to hear His voice amidst all our mind clutter and the din of culture.
Peter and John could have checked the time of day and realized they would be late for the three o'clock Temple service. If they had yielded to the clock of culture instead of the clock of heaven we would not be reading about this miracle in Acts
God is calling you to partner with him to accomplish his will on earth. He has things to say to people who have lost hope. He wants to say those things through you.
This prayer is offered to you. Pray it now so that when you finish reading this article you will be available for God to use in the next supernatural moment that intersects your life.
Father God, I want to hear your word for the broken world around me. I want to be like Peter who was willing to stop long enough in his daily routine to hear your healing word for a broken man. Train me to be a person who can hear Your word and then proclaim it in faith. I ask this in the mighty name of Your Son, Jesus, amen.