In Acts, chapter 3, we read an incredible story about a lame man who happened to be in the right place at the right time:
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.
And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.
But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, “Look at us!”
And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you:
In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!”
And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.
With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. Acts 3:1-8 nasb
There are a couple of things that jump out at me when I read this passage. The first is that it says in verse 3 that this lame man SAW Peter and John about to go into the temple and ASKED to receive alms, but in verse 4 Peter commands him saying, “Look at us!” It was only afterwards that it says in verse 5, “He began to give them his attention, EXPECTING to receive something from them.”
The lame man had seen Peter and John, but he wasn’t paying attention. He had asked for something, but he didn’t expect to receive it. Have you ever found yourself coming to the Lord in this way? Have you prayed for something with no expectation that it will ever come to pass? This was the kind of prayer meeting taking place in Mary’s house. Though they prayed for Peter’s release, they did not believe it would ever happen…even when Peter himself was standing at the door! Although God had heard their prayers and was willing and able to do what they asked, their own unbelief had blocked the answer.
Without faith your prayer could actually be a sin because Romans 14:23 says that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Before Peter and John could release the healing power of God into the body of that lame man, they had to get him to change his posture to one of faith and expectancy. That is why the Lord says to you today through His Word, “Look at Me! Pay attention to what I am saying! Expect to receive when you ask!”
James 1:6-8 nkjv says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubt, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”