What to Pray–When You Can’t Think of What to Say: Acts 3:7-10

light of men John 1:4-5

God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.

For a few weeks around Easter, we took a break from our study in the book of Acts and we’ll return to Acts today. Last post from the book of Acts we looked at how Peter and John healed the lame beggar outside the temple. Today we’ll look at how the lame beggar responded. (If you’re interested, you can check out our previous post from the book of Acts here: Success in a Can: Acts 3:1-10)

The Lame Beggar’s Response

And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s.

Acts 3:7-11

The lame man had been sitting at that gate begging for alms for untold years. Once again he asks for money but he doesn’t receive any. Instead he’s touched by Jesus and he’s given this whole new life free from his lame-ness. He responds to Jesus’ touch by going into God’s house, walking and leaping and praising God. And he clings to the ones who are filled with God’s Holy Spirit, Peter and John.

You Were Lame, and I Was Too

The lame man was lame up until the time he was touched by Jesus, through Peter and John. And I was lame, and you were lame up until each of us was touched by Jesus. This is true for all of humanity throughout all of history. Adam fell, and as a result of that fall, we all came up lame. We were all dead in our sins before Jesus touched each one of us. He is “the way and the truth and the life.” You were lost in your sins in your before life. Focused on yourself and your own desires. Then you met someone who started you down the path to Jesus. Or you heard someone say something that resonated with you and made you want to investigate Jesus. You were touched like the lame man in our story was touched. And like the lame man, after Jesus touched you, you began living a different life. A better life. (John 14:6)

Responding to Jesus’ Touch

I’m inspired by the lame beggar in this passage. After he’s healed he behaves with unbridled gratitude. He leaps and praises God and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. And having found men who are filled with God’s Spirit, he’s smart enough to stay close to those men.

And because I was lame once too, before I experienced Jesus’ touch, I want to respond the same way. When I find men filled with God’s Spirit, I want to be intentional about staying close to those men. And I want to be filled with gratitude the way he was too.

Gratitude as an Answer to Prayer (or as an answer to what to pray for)

So I wonder if you’ve ever experienced this the way I have. You know you need to pray. You know it would be good to pray. You want to pray. But you just can’t think of anything to say. So you pick up your phone and check your social media or text messages. Or you check your work email. Or you go to the refrigerator and open the door. Or you look at what’s available to stream on your screen. Or you start scrolling through your news feed.

I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to me.

Up until a few months ago at least. Because a few months ago I changed my response when I can’t think of anything to pray about. A few months ago I started something new. It’s so simple, I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this out.

Now, when I can’t think of anything to say to God, I just start giving thanks. I just start taking inventory on all the good things (and there are many) He has done for me. Big things like blessing me with sons and daughters and nephews and nieces who, in their adult years, want to spend time with me. Big things like my grandson. And little things like the taste of cold water when I’m thirsty, and the feeling of the morning air when I start a walk, and the way Kathy looks at me when I tell a bad joke.

Big things like the men full of His Spirit that He has blessed me with as friends, friends who are closer than brothers. And little things like pizza, and football, and riding bikes. (Proverbs 18:24, 17:17)

Big things like a wife who loves Jesus and who loves me. And little things like the other evening when the sky was filled with geese from horizon to horizon, and the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, and good music.

And the biggest things He gives me. The biggest things of all: Himself, and His son Jesus, and His Holy Spirit. How can I not give thanks for every drop of intimacy He gives me with Him.

Walking and leaping and praising God. That’s what the formerly lame man did, after Jesus touched him.

That’s who I want to be.

That’s who I can be, when I pray with gratitude and thanksgiving.

That’s who you can be too.

We can be filled with gratitude when we take inventory on the good. We can be filled with thanksgiving if, when we’re stuck, and we can’t think of what to pray, we give thanks for all His blessings.


and leaping

and praising God.

In Jesus’ name.

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Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.

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  • Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
  • How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
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  • How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
  • How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
  • How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
  • How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
  • How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
  • How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.

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One Comment on “What to Pray–When You Can’t Think of What to Say: Acts 3:7-10

  1. Pingback: The Difficult People in Your Life, Peter’s Tone, and Josie’s Patience–Acts 3:9-12 | God Running

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