1. PRAYING AT WORK
a. What news concerned Nehemiah, and how did his employer discover this concern? Nehemiah 1:2–4; 2:1, 2.
b. What did the king ask, and how did Nehemiah respond? Nehemiah 2:4. How was Nehemiah’s silent prayer heard? Verse 6.
“The man of God did not venture to reply till he had sought direction from One higher than Artaxerxes. . . . In that brief prayer Nehemiah pressed into the presence of the King of kings and won to his side a power that can turn hearts as the rivers of waters are turned.
“To pray as Nehemiah prayed in his hour of need is a resource at the command of the Christian under circumstances when other forms of prayer may be impossible. Toilers in the busy walks of life, crowded and almost overwhelmed with perplexity, can send up a petition to God for divine guidance. Travelers by sea and land, when threatened with some great danger, can thus commit themselves to Heaven’s protection. In times of sudden difficulty or peril the heart may send up its cry for help to One who has pledged Himself to come to the aid of His faithful, believing ones whenever they call upon Him.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 631, 632.
2. SEEKING TO PRAY BY OUR ACTIONS
a. When the demoniac dwelling among the tombs by the countryside of Gadarenes saw Jesus for the first time, what did he try to do? Mark 5:5, 6.
b. As Satan did not allow this man to pray, what came out of his mouth instead? Mark 5:7. What did Jesus do for this coarse and abandoned man and his companion (Matthew 8:28)? Mark 5:8.
“His words penetrated the darkened minds of the unfortunate men. They realized dimly that One was near who could save them from the tormenting demons. They fell at the Saviour’s feet to worship Him; but when their lips were opened to entreat His mercy, the demons spoke through them.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 337, 338.
c. What was the result of the first, silent prayer of the two men? Luke 8:35. What can we learn from the demoniacs’ unuttered prayer?
“None have fallen so low, none are so vile, but that they can find deliverance in Christ. The demoniac, in place of prayer, could utter only the words of Satan; yet the heart’s unspoken appeal was heard. No cry from a soul in need, though it fail of utterance in words, will be unheeded. Those who will consent to enter into covenant relation with the God of heaven are not left to the power of Satan or to the infirmity of their own nature. They are invited by the Saviour, ‘Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me’ (Isaiah 27:5). The spirits of darkness will battle for the soul once under their dominion, but angels of God will contend for that soul with prevailing power. The Lord says, ‘Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? . . . Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children’ (Isaiah 49:24, 25).”—Ibid., pp. 258, 259.
3. THE UNSPOKEN DESIRE FOR FORGIVENESS
a. Did the woman taken in adultery offer any excuse or self-justification? John 8:3–7.
b. Did Jesus hate her sin? Explain your answer. Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:8, 9.
“While [Jesus] does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope. The Sinless One pities the weakness of the sinner, and reaches to her a helping hand. . . .
“Men hate the sinner, while they love the sin. Christ hates the sin, but loves the sinner. This will be the spirit of all who follow Him. Christian love is slow to censure, quick to discern penitence, ready to forgive, to encourage, to set the wanderer in the path of holiness, and to stay his feet therein.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 462.
c. How did Jesus respond to this woman’s unspoken request for forgiveness? John 8:10, 11.
“The woman had stood before Jesus, cowering with fear. His words, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone,’ had come to her as a death sentence. She dared not lift her eyes to the Saviour’s face, but silently awaited her doom. In astonishment she saw her accusers depart speechless and confounded; then those words of hope fell upon her ear, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.’ Her heart was melted, and she cast herself at the feet of Jesus, sobbing out her grateful love, and with bitter tears confessing her sins.
“This was to her the beginning of a new life, a life of purity and peace, devoted to the service of God. In the uplifting of this fallen soul, Jesus performed a greater miracle than in healing the most grievous physical disease; He cured the spiritual malady which is unto death everlasting. This penitent woman became one of His most steadfast followers. With self-sacrificing love and devotion she repaid His forgiving mercy.”—Ibid.
4. SPEAKING THROUGH ACTIONS OF DESPERATION
a. How interested was a poor paralytic in seeing Jesus? Luke 5:18, 19.
“I will refer to the paralytic who had not used his limbs for many years. There he was. The priests, the rulers, and scribes examined his case and pronounced it hopeless. They told him that by his own sin he had brought himself into this condition, and there was no hope for him. But the word was brought to him that there was a man called Jesus who was doing mighty works. He was healing the sick, and He had even raised the dead. ‘But how can I go to Him?’ he said.
“’We will carry you to Jesus,’ his friends replied, ‘right into His presence; we have heard He has come to such a place.’
“And so they took the hopeless man and bore him to where they knew Jesus was. But the multitude surrounded the building so closely where Jesus was that there was no chance for them, not so much as to come at the door. What were they going to do? The paralytic suggested that they open the roof and take off the tiling and let him down through the roof.”—Faith and Works, p. 67.
b. What unspoken desire of the paralytic did Jesus meet? Luke 5:20. How did Jesus reveal that He could read everyone’s thoughts, not just those of this man? Verses 21–23.
“Jesus knew just what that sin-sick soul needed. He knew that he had been tortured on account of his own conscience, so He said, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee.’ What a relief came to his mind! What hope filled his heart!”—Ibid.
c. What did the actual healing of the man show about the power Jesus had? Luke 5:24–26.
“He who at the creation ‘spake, and it was,’ who ‘commanded, and it stood fast’ (Psalm 33:9), had spoken life to the soul dead in trespasses and sins. The healing of the body was an evidence of the power that had renewed the heart. Christ bade the paralytic arise and walk, ‘that ye may know,’ He said, ‘that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.’”—The Desire of Ages, p. 270.
5. PRAYING THROUGH TOUCHING
a. How did a woman, after suffering with a serious disease for 12 years, choose to express to Jesus her timid request for healing? Mark 5:25–29.
“The golden opportunity had come, she was in the presence of the great Physician! But amid the confusion, she could not be heard by Him nor catch more than a passing glimpse of His figure. Fearful of losing the one chance of relief from her illness, she pressed forward, saying to herself, If I but touch His garment I shall be cured. She seized the opportunity as He was passing and reached forward, barely touching the hem of His garment. But in that moment she felt herself healed of her disease. Instantly health and strength took the place of feebleness and pain. She had concentrated all the faith of her life in that one touch that made her whole.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 320.
b. How did Jesus then publicly acknowledge her unspoken prayer of faith? Mark 5:30–34. What does this teach us about faith?
“Jesus does not fail to answer the silent prayer of faith. He who simply takes God at His word, and reaches out to connect himself with the Saviour, will receive His blessing in return.”—Ibid., p. 322.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What privilege do we have when we are in need, even though we may not be able to kneel before God? How can we do this?
2. Does Jesus hear the secret, silent prayers coming from an honest heart?
3. Can our actions serve as a prayer? How?
4. What type of healing do we all need, and how willing is Jesus to help us?
5. Does Jesus act upon the words that come out of our mouths only or the silent thoughts of the heart as well?