This morning in his homily, our deacon pointed out a wonderful aspect of today's Gospel. The story was of the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him into the room so that he would be in front of Jesus. They had to take action on behalf of another, so that he would have a chance with Jesus. They were not asking for anything for themselves, but exerted extreme effort on behalf of their friend. Luke tells us that "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, 'As for you, your sins are forgiven.'”(Lk. 5:20)
The faith of these others was vital to this miracle, and, even though we hear not one word from the man himself, he is healed by the Lord. It got me to thinking about the importance of praying for others, especially those who may not be able (or willing) to pray for themselves. I wonder how many times God performs miracles because of the prayers of others, and the recipient is not even aware of it. It certainly should make us continue to pray for those who are in need, especially those who may not have strong enough faith - or any at all. Our family members, friends, neighbors and acquaintances may benefit from our prayers because of our faith. How strong is it? Are we willing to exert a supreme effort to help them? We may not be called upon to climb up on a rooftop and lower them on a stretcher, but can we at least spend some quality time in prayer for them?
It is also a good thing to let them know we are praying for them, just as the paralyzed man was aware of the efforts of his friends. and I suggest that you be specific. Rather than a general "I am praying for you", perhaps telling a friend who is looking for a job that "I spent a half-hour in prayer for you today" would indicate how important they are to you. To say to a colleague who is battling cancer "I made a Holy Hour for you today" may mean more than you will ever know. And who knows - perhaps your friends may be the means by which God chooses give you what you need!