Day 127

Pray God-Sized Prayers

Wisdom Psalm 57:1
New Testament John 4:46–53, 5:1–8
Old Testament Judges 4:2–8, 5:2–31


I remember so well praying for a baby called Craig. I had been asked to visit a woman in the Brompton Hospital. Vivienne had three children and was pregnant with a fourth. Her third child, who was eighteen months old, had a hole in his heart that had been operated on. The operation had not been a success and, not unnaturally, the medical staff wanted to turn the machines off. Many times they asked Vivienne if they could turn the machines off and let the baby die. She said no, as she wanted to try one last thing. She wanted someone to pray for him. So I went.

Craig had tubes all over him. His body was bruised and swollen. She said that the doctors had indicated that even if he recovered he would have brain damage because his heart had stopped for such a long time. She told me she didn’t believe in God but she said, ‘Will you pray?’

I prayed in the name of Jesus for God to heal him. Then I explained to her how she could give her life to Jesus Christ and she did. I left, but returned two days later. Vivienne came running out the moment she saw me. She said, ‘I’ve been trying to get hold of you; something amazing has happened. The night after you prayed he completely turned the corner. He has recovered.’ Within a few days Craig had gone home.

Vivienne went around all her relatives and friends saying, ‘I didn’t believe, but now I do believe.’

A remarkable healing had occured. This was over thirty years ago and I have kept in touch with the family. This healing was not autosuggestion; he was a baby at the time. It was not positive thinking. It was not the placebo effect. It was a God-sized answer to a God-sized prayer.


Psalm 57:1

1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
   for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
   until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High,
   to God, who vindicates me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me…
   God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.


Pray for mercy

Have you ever cried out to God for mercy? I certainly have, many times. David cried out ‘to God Most High’ (v.2). He prayed, ‘Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me’ (v.1a).

There is a God-sized prayer for mercy that God always answers. That is the prayer for forgiveness through Jesus. Through his death on the cross, Jesus has made it possible that ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Romans 10:13).

The context for David’s prayer for mercy is probably when he had fled from Saul and into the cave (see 1 Samuel 22; 24). He cried out to God, and God heard and answered his prayer. David says, ‘I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfils his purpose for me’ (Psalm 57:2).

David knew that God had a purpose for his life and that he would fulfil that purpose. God has a God-sized purpose for your life. Respond, like David, to God’s call and obey him.

God answers God-sized prayers in a God-sized way: ‘He sends from heaven and saves me… God sends his love and his faithfulness’ (v.3).


O God, thank you for your love and your faithfulness (v.3). My soul will take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

New Testament

John 4:46–53, 5:1–8

46 … there was a certain royal official whose son lay ill at Capernaum.

47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

49 The royal official said, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’

50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he enquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, ‘Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.’

53 Then the father realised that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he and his whole household believed.

5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralysed.

5 One who was there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’

7 ‘Sir,’ the sick man replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’

8 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.


Pray for healing

There are times in our lives when we are desperate for healing – either for others, or for ourselves. In this life our prayers for healing will not always be answered. Unanswered prayer can be a difficult and painful thing to wrestle with.¹ But sometimes God does intervene miraculously to bring healing. We see here two examples of this, both coming about as a result of God-sized prayers:

  1. Healing for others
    The royal official begged Jesus to heal his son (4.47), who was on the brink of death.

    ‘Jesus put him off: “Unless you people are dazzled by a miracle, you refuse to believe”’ (v.48, MSG). But the official would not be put off: ‘Come down! It’s life or death for my son’ (v.49, MSG).

    Jesus responded to the man’s faith. The man believed that if Jesus came he could heal his son. Jesus asked him to go one step further and believe that his words from miles away could heal his son. The man did believe. And Jesus performed the miracle – he heard the man’s God-sized prayer and healed his son. As a result, his whole household believed (v.53).

  2. Healing for ourselves
    Jesus went to a place where there were a multitude of people with disabilities; lame, blind and paralysed (5:3). This was a culture that saw disability as a punishment from God. Such people were hidden away. But God has chosen the weak and the foolish of the world in order to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27–28).

    Jesus healed a man who had been an disabled for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). The man must have been desperate: he had been putting his hope in the healing powers of the waters of Bethesda, which would bubble up periodically, and it was thought that the first person in after the waters bubbled up would be healed. But this man had no one to help him get in first (v.7).

    He had no friends, no close family. Nobody cared for him. He was alone and abandoned. Nobody loved him, but Jesus loved him.

    Jesus says to him, as he says to each one of us, ‘Do you want to get well?’ (v.6). For thirty-eight years, this man had learned to survive as he was. Now he has to rise up, make choices, find new friends, find work and become responsible for his life.

    Joyce Meyer writes of this incident that, in effect, Jesus said to the man, ‘Don’t just lie there, do something!’ She continues, ‘Being sexually abused for approximately fifteen years and growing up in a dysfunctional home left me lacking confidence and filled with shame. I wanted to have good things in my life, but I was stuck in emotional torment and despair.

    ‘Like the man in John 5, Jesus did not give me pity either. Jesus was actually very firm with me and He applied a lot of tough love, but His refusal to let me wallow in self-pity was a turning point in my life. I am not in the pit any longer. I now have a great life. If you will reject self-pity, actively look to God and do what He instructs you to do, you can have a great life too.’

¹ My friend, Pete Greig, has written an excellent book on this subject called God on Mute


Thank you, Lord, that you hear our prayers for healing for ourselves and others. Today I cry out to you for healing…

Old Testament

Judges 4:2–8, 5:2–31

2 Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3 Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the LORD for help.

4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, ‘The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: “Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the River Kishon and give him into your hands.”’

8 Barak said to her, ‘If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.’

2 ‘When the princes in Israel take the lead,
   when the people willingly offer themselves –
   praise the LORD!

31 ‘... may all who love you be like the sun
   when it rises in its strength.’
Then the land had peace forty years.


Pray for leadership

Everything rises and falls on leadership. If a business is well-led it tends to do well. If a church is well-led it usually flourishes. If a nation is well-led it will most often prosper.

After Sisera had ‘cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the LORD for help’ (4:3). Sisera’s mother looked out of the window waiting for Sisera to return. She cried out, ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoils: a woman or two for each man’ (5:30). We get a hint here of how Sisera treated the people of God.

In answer to their God-sized prayer God raised up an outstanding leader. Deborah was both a spiritual leader (a ‘prophetess’) and also a political leader. She was ‘leading Israel at that time’ (4:4). She was a charismatic leader whose presence was so valued that Barak says to her, ‘If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go’ (v.8).

Interestingly, it is another woman, Jael, who finally finishes off Israel’s oppressor (v.21).

Both women and men can make outstanding leaders. What matters is not gender but that leaders actively lead: ‘When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves – praise the LORD!’ (5:2,9).

Deborah and Barak gave God the glory (vv.1–5). Again, Joyce Meyer points out that God ‘chooses to use and promote those who know they are nothing without him and who give him the glory and the credit for all their accomplishments. Every time you have a success in your life, remember to give God the glory’.

The way in which God answered the prayer of his people was to raise up wise and humble leadership. As a result, ‘the land had peace for forty years’ (v.31c).

Deborah prayed that those who loved the Lord would be ‘like the sun when it rises in its strength’ (v.31b) – bringing warmth and energy; strong, bold and fearless.


Lord, I pray today that I would be ‘like the sun when it rises in its strength’ (v.31b). May I bring light in a dark world; may I show people the way.

Pippa adds

Judges 4:1-5:31

In Judges 4 and 5, we see Deborah as the leader of the nation, a judge, a prophetess, a prayer warrior, songwriter, worship leader, wife and mother. What an awesome role model she was! Who said the Bible is against women in leadership?

Thought for the Day

Both women and men can make outstanding leaders. What matters is not gender but that leaders actively lead.



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Joyce Meyer, The Everyday Life Bible, (Faithwords, 2018) pp.380, 1685

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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