In the Gospels (Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48) there is a story of a woman
receiving healing by touching the fringe of Jesus cloak. The woman suffered from hemorrhages for twelve years before receiving instant healing from Jesus.
During those twelve years the woman was broke because she had spent all the money she had on doctors. During those twelve years, Biblical Scholars tell us that the woman was most likely seen as an outcast because of her condition and her status as a female without a husband. During those twelve years, it is difficult to fathom her hurt, her pain and her situation.
After twelve years of suffering even her healing was taxing. For before her healing could take place, the woman had to fight through a dangerous crowd just to touch the garment of Jesus.
Healed she retreats to the background, but is called out in fear and trembling when Jesus asked “who touch me?”
An often-overlooked point to this story is not the actions of the woman or the actions of Jesus. What is overlooked are the actions of people in this woman’s community. What was their behavior during the twelve years of her illness?
While the Gospels are silent on this point I suggest we take a moment to examine our own actions with people in our communities, churches and our homes, who may need help and have been suffering for several years.
If you are like me, you may respond by saying: “I contribute to United Way at work and that is how I help.” You may also believe that donating to a fund at church is your contribution. Another response may be “ we have a ministry team and pastor I support them, and that is how I help. “
Deborah Hunsinger, an ordained Presbyterian Minister and Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, writes in her book Pray Without Ceasing that pastoral care, is the work of the entire community and not something that is solely the duty of the pastor. Dr. Hunsinger suggests in her book that all “Christians are called to care for one another and should intercede for others both inside and outside the church.”
Pastoral care is providing spiritual support for people regardless of need. Dr. Hunsinger suggest pastoral care for others begins with seeking God first for ourselves. She suggests a three prong model of prayer where listening is paramount:
(1) Listening to God,
(2) Listening to person in need
(3) Listening to ourselves.
When we exercise this three prong prayer listing model in conjunction with prayer, we become more focused and effective as we fulfill our role as pastoral caregivers.
After identifying the woman Jesus says “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
As you go well in peace I urge you to make prayer for people who are need part of your spiritual practice.
- Think of the difference the prayers of others could have made in the life of the woman we encounter in the Gospels.
- Think of the difference your prayers can make in the lives of others who are in need.
- Think of the difference your payers for others can make in your own life.
As go well in peace, go well in prayer!!
Start your day with me and folks from around the country on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 A.M. (Eastern), 5:30 A.M. (Central) for the Devotional Prayer Call. The call is a quick power packed 10 minutes of scriptures, praise and prayer designed to get your morning started off right!!! The toll-free number is 641-715-3580. Access Code: 548874. You do not have to announce yourself on the call, just come on and listen.