Larry Dossey, M.D. wrote a book entitled Be Careful What You Pray For: You Just Might Get It. I’ve not read the book and this is not an endorsement, I just think the title is really cool. The apostles could have contributed to his book. Grab your Bible and read Acts 5:12-18. This section describes the healing and miraculous ministry of Jesus’ disciples. But to get the full context of this passage, you have to go back to chapter 4.
After the Sanhedrin disciplined Peter and John for preaching and healing in the name of Jesus, the church joined together in prayer. Not for protection but for boldness to speak Jesus’ words and that God would “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your Holy servant Jesus” (4:30). And God answered their prayers.
“The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people” (v. 12). Just as they had asked. And just as the Lord Jesus had done. The gospel of John calls Jesus’ miracles “signs” that pointed to His divine nature as the Son of God. The miracles the apostles performed were signs that confirmed their message about Jesus. Healing miracles abounded wherever the apostles went. People lined the streets with their sick folks in hopes of healing just from Peter’s shadow passing over them. Luke never confirmed that any “shadow healings” took place, but it does show the respect and wonder with which they were regarded. All around the Judean territory word spread and the sick and demon-possessed were brought before them. Luke said “. . . and all of them were healed” (v. 16). Imagine how the world would react today to that kind of ministry.
But it wasn’t only the people who took notice of these miracles – the religious leaders become aware of what was taking place too. And they weren’t impressed. They were jealous (v. 17). And enraged. The apostles disregarded their orders and continued to declare the name of Jesus. Worst of all, their popularity was growing. They were arrested and thrown into the public jail.
The apostles prayed for boldness and miraculous power. God granted their prayer. Great and wondrous things happened. So did awful things. So, were these “unintended consequences” of their prayer? There’s no such thing in God’s kingdom.
Stay tuned. God’s not done with them. Or you, Beloved.