Mary and Martha prayed to Jesus for Lazarus.
I mean, if Jesus is God and talking to God is prayer and sending a message counts.
They sent a message to Jesus saying, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
And he didn’t come. And as far as we know, he didn’t answer. He waited until Lazarus was dead.
When he finally arrived, Martha came and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” And Martha and Jesus had a conversation about theology, about who Jesus was.
But Mary stayed home when Martha went to see Jesus.
When Jesus asked for her, Martha sent for her, and she came. And said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” And she cried.
Though we know how the story ended, that Lazarus was raised, the sisters didn’t know that would be the end. They may not even have hoped for it.
What they knew is that they had prayed, appealing to Jesus’ relationship with Lazarus, and Jesus didn’t answer until it was too late.
And they told him, to his face, that he had fallen short.
The lesson isn’t that if we pray hard enough, Jesus will raise our loved ones from the dead. Because they weren’t depending on him to do that. When he said to open the grave, Martha was concerned about the smell.
There may not be a lesson. But the story tells us that even people that Jesus loves will die. Even people that Jesus loves will scold him for it. Jesus is aware of what is happening and present with those who weep. And Jesus loves and does not fire those people. Because the story is bigger than we think.
From John 11.