When I hear an ambulance, I ask God to protect and heal whomever the ambulance is for. When I eat something funky, I ask God to protect me from whatever may have been wrong with the food. There are many small moments I have throughout my day when I am interacting with God.
With these small moments of interaction (called prayer), I often wonder about what I’m asking or looking for God to do. I think to myself, are these requests legit? Are they fitting for what God is doing and what His will is? Also, I’ve always wondered: Is it ever too late to pray?
As I was reading the other day I came across this phrase from the Bible Background Commentary:
Once an event had occurred, it was too late to pray for its reversal. For example, the rabbis claimed that it was too late for one hearing a funeral procession to pray that it was not for a relative.
The Scripture reference is this:
While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.”
– Luke 8:49 ESV
A Desperate Father and a Dead Daughter
A man named Jairus sought out healing for his daughter from Jesus. While on their way back to Jairus’ house, Jesus gets side tracked and healed someone else.
Then word shows up that the daughter is dead. Asking for healing is now of no concern. It’s too late.
Jesus responds to Jairus saying:
But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”
– Luke 8:50 (ESV)
As they get to the house, many people had already gathered for the funeral. It wasn’t like CPR was still an option. This man’s little girl was stone cold dead.
Jesus tells the people she is sleeping. They laugh at him. Obviously, they knew that was not the case.
Then it happened; Jesus raises the girl from the dead.
Was It Ever Too Late to Pray?
This girl being raised from the dead had a purpose. It showed the power Jesus has over death. She wasn’t raised from the dead so she could eat a cheeseburger and just exist. She was raised as an expression of God’s power and the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Life is here. Life is available. Life is more powerful than death. Jesus is the giver of life.
I wonder what the rest of her life was like. Did she get married? Did she have a scar? Did she talk about it every day? Did she write a book like 90
Minutes in Heaven? Did she commit herself to following Jesus? Was she at his crucifixion?
This side of heaven, I’ll probably never know the answers to those questions. That’s ok. But here’s what I can see about God and His interaction with us:
It’s Never Too Late to Pray
In this simple and complex act of raising the girl from death, Jesus shows that it may not be too late to pray.
Jesus has the power to change situations and scenarios even when they seem are hopeless.
I don’t know what you’re going through; I don’t know what struggles you’re facing. But, I know that God can raise people from the dead. So, He can definitely turn your situation around.
I’m not saying he will raise someone from the dead for you. I’m not saying he will even turn your situation around. Jesus’ brother talks about how God uses hard times to mold us into who He wants us to be (see James 1:2-4).
I’m not God. He is so much more complex than what I understand. So, I can’t tell you anything for sure, except for this: It’s not too late to pray.