When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
The multitudes followed Jesus, many of them expecting him to teach them or to do another miracle. In a way, they were like the fans of a celebrity or pop star today. And also, like fans, they did not actually engage personally with Jesus.
The man with leprosy did three things differently than the average person in those ancient crowds: 1) He came to Jesus by himself, 2) He knelt before Jesus, and 3) He spoke believing. Let’s break this down to see what is really happening here:
1) By coming directly to Jesus, the man admitted by his actions that he had a need and that he knew that only Jesus could help him.
2) By kneeling before Jesus, the man acknowledged that Jesus was all powerful and worthy of all worship and honor.
3) Oddly enough, the man didn’t really ask to be healed. It wasn't a question at all. Rather, he made a declaration. He acknowledged the fact that Jesus had the power and authority to heal him: “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” The man wasn’t just hoping that Jesus would heal him. Instead, he declared, out loud, the unshakable truth that Jesus could indeed heal him.
The man with leprosy had plenty to complain about and every reason to feel hopeless. He had been exiled and was all alone, scrounging for scraps of food just to survive. He was treated like a piece of trash all because he was sick. Imagine how it must have felt to be an outcast and shunned by your family, friends, and religious leaders. Maybe you don’t have to imagine what it is like to feel like an outcast. Maybe back in middle or high school, you were teased or bullied. As an adult, you may feel that you don’t fit in with the families in your neighborhood or with co-workers at your job. Some churches even have cliques that look down on certain members whom they judge as not “holy” enough.
Yet God was ready to heal this man just as He is ready to bless each of us. Maybe he is just waiting for us to get our prayer attitude in check. How do we do that? By doing what the man with leprosy did—declaring/speaking the truth about who God is and how much He cares for us.
Perhaps we might see God show up in different ways if we prayed differently. What if we declared His Word when we lifted our voices in prayer? Over the last few years, I have really tried to focus on praying God’s Word and it has been a game changer in my prayer life. God has placed hundreds of His promises in the Bible. They are there so that when we pray, we can speak (declare) these promises directly to our need. This releases the Spirit of God to work in our circumstances, because the Bible says that God’s Word “does not return to [Him] void” (Isa. 55:11). God’s Word is just as powerful today as it was when He said the words, “Let there be light.” As children of God, redeemed by Christ, we have been given the right and the authority to speak God’s words from the Bible to any mountain or crisis that we face. And, by the power of the Holy Spirit, it will move (Matt. 21:21-22).
Do you believe in the absolute power of God? More specifically, do you believe in the absolute power of God to work in your life, in the struggle you are going through? The man with leprosy had no doubts. He trusted Jesus to heal him and transform the circumstances of his life, he declared God’s power, and was blessed by the favor of God!
Sisters, today I challenge you to declare the Word of God over your impossible prayers, believing that He will always answer in response, “I am willing.” And…if you’re open to sharing, we’d love to hear the scriptures that you are speaking over your situation. And we will partner with you in claiming those prayers in Jesus’ name!
For further reading: Isaiah 55:10-11 (NKJV), 2 Corinthians 1:20, Matt. 7:7-11, Matthew 21:18-22, Joshua 23:1-11, 14
Thank you, Lord, for all the promises You have placed in the Bible. I know now that when I pray those promises and declare them directly to my situation, I am aligning myself with Your Word and Your Will. And I know that You will meet my needs, just as You did when you healed the man with leprosy. Thank you for teaching me how to pray effectively. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.