Posted by: richard | 5 June, 2008

Enable Your servant – Stretch out Your hand

An interesting discussion on Monday about how God works through prayer:  is it a case of God changing us through our own prayers, or of God intervening in the world as a result of our prayer requests?

I quoted Acts 4:23-31 which helped me in this area: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” and “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

Enable your servant / stretch out your hand seems to be the Biblical model.  In other words, a lot of it is about submitting to God’s way and being transformed – but we should also expect God to work in the world, in others and through events.

Does this mean “miracles”? Not in the sense in which it is often used. Tom Wright suggests a Christian view of the universe is where God is neither identical to his creation (pantheism) nor aloof from it (deism), but rather actively involved in it in such a way that heaven and earth vitally overlap and intersect – with the most important point of intersection is Jesus himself.

So God’s activity in this world is not a supernatural “reaching across the void” – but something much more… sacramental…. tangible?

Any other reflections on this would be wonderful.



  1. So God’s activity in this world is not a supernatural “reaching across the void”

    If, by this, you mean that God’s activity in this world is never supernatural, and that God does not perform miraculous signs and wonders, and heal and change in a big way, I can’t agree, sorry…

    I definitely agree that we can see a lot of God in the non supernatural and in the life we’re living, in everything that’s going on, but I definitely wouldn’t confine it to that. God does crazy stuff, exciting stuff.

  2. It’d be disappointing if we all agreed – would obviously mean we aren’t thinking enough…

    Though I didn’t say “God doesn’t do miracles”. And I quoted a passage which talks explicitly about signs and wonders!

    The resurrection is THE crucial place where heaven and earth intersected, and most people would call that a miracle. Is God ‘supernatural’ though? I’m not sure. Isn’t he THE most natural thing?

    I suppose I would say that God can do whatever He wants, but didn’t create Creation in order to micromanage it. Signs and wonders, however, should be for His glory and not – as we often pray – for our comfort (“give me a parking space!”)

    Though to be totally honest I don’t feel I’ve not seen many physical manifestions of “signs or wonders” that would count as micraculous.

    Testimonies please!

  3. Ok so I approve a bit more now lol, it was just that sentence that I quoted seemed the opposite to what you were saying from that verse!

    I mean the question of natural and supernatural… of course God is, and we are created by him… But super natural of the usual rules of creation, things going agains science, against gravity, against medical norms, against what we can know as humans… I think that’s what’s the “supernatural” right? So healings, and prophetic words and stuff… Maybe supernatural isn’t the right word!

    We just came back from Houlgate with French congregation from St Michaels, and they had a speaker called Mark Aldridge and he told tons of awesome testimonies of the work going on in their church back home, of asking for prophetic words for people in the street, and cancers being healed, and blind people seeing… My personnal experiences aren’t quite as crazy as that, but then I think I probably don’t step out in faith and pray boldly and stuff for things like that…

    (gonna try harder!)


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