When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet (Mark 5:21–22, esv).
We have so many reasons not to pray.
And it’s time we realized how unreasonable those reasons are.
Among the greatest, boldest spiritual truths found in Scripture, one of the most powerful and practical is this: faith that acts and asks and endures gets answered. Prayers of faith get God’s attention. And the reason this statement packs such a jolt is because it meets us in places where prayer can feel pointless and unproductive, as if it’s taking up precious time that we should be devoting somewhere else.
Yes, we have our reasons not to pray. But none of them should ever keep us from acting and asking anyway.
Mark 5 introduces us to a synagogue leader named Jairus who got up one day, hurriedly dressed, left the house, and asked around until he found where Jesus was teaching, then cut through the crowd and fell at His feet with an urgent request for help. This man’s daughter was gravely ill—“at the point of death,” he said. “Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live” (Mark 5:23).
We know where the story goes from there—how they received news en route back to his home that Jairus’s daughter had already died, and how Jesus pushed away the reports and the mourners at the door to raise the young girl to life.
But rewind from the ending for a moment, long enough to see how many excuses Jairus could have made for not seeking Jesus at all—all of which he sprinted past on his way to get to Him.
Self-importance. He was a man of position, and that position was in a context where many of the colleagues he worked with on a daily basis hated Jesus with a passion. If he dared being too bold and visible in seeking Him, he risked losing his job. He needed to be sure he was thinking of what was best for his future—for the rest of his family as well, not only his sick daughter.
Self-dignity. What kind of impression would a man like him give if he broke down and became emotional in a public setting like this? Wouldn’t it be better to try making an appointment? Or, if Jesus was as powerful as He claimed to be, wouldn’t He be able to hear Jairus’s prayer from home? Why risk a spectacle that would make him look bad or imbalanced?
Self-protection. Things looked truly grim for his daughter, and probably not even Jesus would do anything to help him. Maybe he shouldn’t get his hopes up. Why pray himself out on a limb, only to be disappointed in the end? It was a long shot at best. Think of how hard it would be to save face with those closest to him if his daring maneuver didn’t work.
Do any of these reasons for not praying sound familiar? Not wanting to look weird. Being restricted by your persona. Wanting to contain and control the situation a little more. Not putting God on the spot for needing to act.
But none of those reasons are reasonable. God is up to the challenge of responding to prayers of faith. He wants them. He invites them. The question is: Are you and I up to the challenge of acting, asking, enduring, and expecting His answers?
Perhaps all that separates us from Jairus and the miracle he experienced is that he wouldn’t let his excuses keep him from running to Jesus.
Lord God, thank You for wanting me to act in faith. Thank You that Your truths are solid and Your character is reliable. Thank You that You not only allow but invite us to approach Your throne boldly, based on the blood of Your Son. So I come to You asking you to enlarge my faith, and show Your glory by doing what only You can do. Hear me and help me, I pray, in the powerful name of Jesus, amen.